60 percent of Millennials willing to share personal info with brands

March 7, 2014

With consumer privacy at the forefront of the nation's collective consciousness, given the recent Target data breach and ongoing NSA spying scandal, new Mintel research finds that while consumers are becoming increasingly protective of their personal information, Millennials are much more prone to oversharing relative to their Baby Boomer parents. According to Mintel, 60 percent of Millennials would be willing to provide details about their personal preferences and habits to marketers, whereas Baby Boomers are much more protective of their personal information.

According to the research, even for the most private of information, at least 30 percent of Millennials who claimed they would not provide it said they would do so after receiving an incentive offer (i.e., a $10 coupon toward their next purchase), whereas for Baby Boomers only 13 percent could be swayed by these same type of incentives.

Delving deeper into this generation gap, Mintel finds that for more tech-skewing information such as cell numbers and social media profiles, Millennials are much more likely to share this with companies than Baby Boomers (30 percent vs. 14 percent and 27 percent vs. 10 percent, respectively).

Yet for something a little more old-fashioned, like a mailing address, the trend is reversed, with 40 percent of Boomers offering up this info compared with 38 percent of Millennials. Credit scores are the most private information across the board, with only 17 percent of Millennials and 8 percent of Baby Boomers willing to provide that information.

"What this shows is that the younger generation, who grew up in the information age, is clearly more comfortable with sharing those types of personal information and are far less skeptical than their parents," said Fiona O'Donnell, category manager for retail, multicultural, lifestyles and leisure. "Millennials are predisposed to share their personal habits and contact information with marketers, but they do so only when the perceived benefits outweigh the risks. Given that their generation accounts for nearly a quarter of the population, the implications for businesses are tremendous, because as Millennials go, so goes the U.S.d economy."

Although they have less discretionary income than some of their older peers, 42 percent of Millennials say that buying something that makes them feel good about themselves is very important, which is significantly higher than any other generation. This number jumps to 52 percent of Millennial dads, suggesting that there is an opportunity for marketers to take advantage of this desire for personal and sometimes immediate gratification.

"Millennials may be more apt to share, or even overshare, relative to other age groups, but they are also the most diverse generation, so marketers must know how to take this information and tailor campaigns that will be engaging and meaningful," said O'Donnell. "Millennials are content creators and well known for their desire to be involved. In order to overcome the fragmentation of channels and attention, marketers and program creators need to engage their customers."

Millennials are 64 percent more likely than the average adult to simultaneously multiscreen (that is, to use different types of technology — such as watching TV and searching the internet on their mobile device — at the same time). Moreover, about 3 in 10 Millennials wouldd give up broadcast television rather than give up their mobile phone, compared to just 7 percent of Boomers. Millennials are 87 percent more likely than the average adult to say this.

Topics: Consumer Behavior , Marketing

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