The Millennials

One Might Ask if Millenials Are A Homogeneous Group With Respect To Sport Participation and Consumption?  Our Answer Is “That Depends”
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2015, the millennial generation is projected to surpass the Baby Boom generation as the largest living generation in the US. Millennials, defined as between the ages of 18 to 34, are projected to reach 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69) while the Gen X segment (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.

However, the impact of millenials on the U.S. sports market depends not only on absolute growth but also on the relative significance of millennials within each individual sport category. With this in mind, we have examined trends in millennial sport and recreation participation as well as variations in millennial consumption of sport among different sport categories. These trends should be considered when developing sport marketing and sponsorship strategies.

Participation Trends
Team Sports:
Participation by millennials (ages 18-34) in soccer and ice hockey increased modestly between 2010 and 2014, however, participation by millennials in basketball, football, volleyball, softball and baseball declined during the same period, as indicated in Chart 1 below.

Outdoor Recreation:
As shown in Chart 2 below, participation by millennials in outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, fresh water fishing, target shooting, hunting with firearms and backpacking increased between 2010 and 2014, while participation in camping, swimming and bicycle riding declined during the same period.

As shown in Chart 3 below, participation by millennials in exercise walking, running/jogging, aerobic exercising and yoga increased between 2010 and 2014. However, participation declined for exercising with equipment, weightlifting and working out at a club between 2010 and 2014.

The Frequency of Sport Consumption by Millenials varies by Sport Categories
An analysis of millennials as sports fans reveals significant differences among sport categories regarding the percentage of millennial fans actually attending games. As shown in Chart 4 below, regardless of the sport category, millennial fans are much less likely to attend games frequently (at least 4 games/year for football and 12 games for basketball and baseball).
However, for some sport categories, the difference in the percentage between all millennial fans of some sport categories and the percentage that attend games frequently is much smaller than for other sport categories. For example, as shown in Chart 4 below, for MLS, although millennials make up 44 percent of all fans, only 22 percent attend frequently. However, in the MLB and NHL sport categories, the percentage difference is much smaller. There is less than four percentage points between all millennials who attend and millennials who attend frequently.
It is also worth noting that the percentage of millennial tennis and golf fans that attend and those fans that attend frequently is quite a bit lower for both sport categories when compared with other sport categories listed in Chart 4.
Variations Within the Millennial Segment
SBRnet Fan Market data suggest that the “Millennials” category perhaps should to be considered as two separate categories, college age fans (18-24) and young working adult fans (25-34). Why? Because these two groups consume sport differently in many respects.
Here are some examples:
Chart 5 below indicates the percentage of 18-24-year-old millennial fans that attend NBA games, from a high of 41 percent attending games once per year to a low of 29 percent attending 4 or more games per year. Among 25-34-year-old millenials, 51.5 percent attend once per year while only nine percent attend four or more games. What do you consider to be some of the reasons for the differences between these two groups of millennials?

Sponsorship Responsiveness:
Chart 6 below compares the responses of two groups of millennial fans toward sponsors as determined by SBRnet’s proprietary “Sponsorship Influence Index.” This chart compares the percentage of fans “extremely” or “very” likely to respond favorably to sport sponsors. Review the chart and consider what the differences can be attributed to.
Basketball Shoe Buyers:
Even within the same sport category different patterns of consumption emerge for various products. For example, considering expenditures for basketball shoes, the percentage of expenditures by both millennial age groups is higher relative to their percentage of the U.S. population in these same age groups.

Basketball (Balls) Buyers:
On the other hand for basketballs, the percentage of expenditures is higher than the percentage of the market among 25-34-year-olds, whereas the percentage of expenditures is below what would be expected based on the population percentage among 18-24-year-olds.

In summary, this data suggest that when evaluating the potential market among millennials sport marketers may want to consider separating the millennial demographic into two groups, the 18-24-year-old and the 25-34-year old segments.
Questions that may be of interest for your students:
What demographic or lifestyle characteristics of the two age groups (18-24 and 25-34) might account for the differences indicated in the above charts.
What implications does this data have for team and sport related product marketers?
What components of a marketing plan would be most affected by differences in sport and recreation participation and consumer behavior between the two age groups?

Articles From SBRnet’s Database Dealing With Millennials and Sports

These distinctions rarely appear in trade magazines or academic journals addressing the millennial demographic, probably because the research used as a basis for the articles did not consider the differences between the two millennial age segments. This suggests that at least some literature dealing with millennials should be viewed with caution by sports marketers. Here are two articles below which do not cite the distinction. Have your students analyze the articles in light of the data and discussion above.

Sports Participants More Likely Attend College
SGB Update

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of American adults participated in some form of athletic activity throughout their schooling years, with half (49 percent) participating in school team sports and 44 percent taking up other team sports outside of school, according to a new Harris Poll.

Four-in-ten Americans (41 percent) participated in school sports with both individual and team aspects, while 37 percent flew solo, participating in individual sports outside of school. Over one-quarter (27 percent) took formal lessons for a sport.
HIGHER EDUCATION levels are associated with participation in athletics. Sixty four percent of those who participated in sports went through some level of higher education, compared to just 45 percent of those who did not participate. They are more likely to have capped off their education with a four-year college degree (20 percent vs. 14 percent) compared to those who didn't participate and are also twice as likely to have some form of post graduate education (12 percent vs. 6 percent).
Participation in athletics is also associated with higher incomes. Fifteen percent of adults who participated in athletics have a personal INCOME greater than $100,000, compared to just 9 percent of those who did not participate. The same is true for household income levels; 28 percent of those who participated in sports have a household income over $100,000 compared to just 15 percent of those who did not.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,232 U.S. adults SURVEYED ONLINE between January 14 and 20, 2015. Full results of the study, including data tables, can be found here.
Certain groups are more likely than others to have participated in athletics in school. Men are more likely than women (82 percent versus 65 percent) to have participated. Generation wise, the younger one is, the more likely they participated in athletics as 81 percent of Millennials and 76 percent of Generation X participated compared to 67 percent of Baby Boomers and 63 percent of Matures.
Most people who participated in athletics did so for at least a few years while in school, and some are still active in a sport. Just 10 percent of participants completed less than one year in athletics and one-fifth (21 percent) completed between one and three years. One-quarter (25 percent) completing three to five years, three-in-ten (29 percent) completed more than five years, and 9 percent are still going strong today.
Athletic participation scores personal fulfillment points
Among those who participated in an athletic PROGRAM during their school years, close to one-half (45 percent) say it was extremely or very influential to their current level of personal fulfillment, with another third (32 percent) saying it was somewhat influential. Those with some college education or A COLLEGE DEGREE are more likely to say their athletic participation was extremely or very influential than those with a high school or less education (48 percent and 56 percent vs. 37 percent, respectively).
The longer people stayed involved in an athletic program, the more likely they are to say that participating influenced their current level of personal fulfillment. Among those who participated for less than three years, less than one-quarter (23 percent) say it was extremely or very influential, while nearly half (47 percent) of those with 3-5 years of participation say the same. This jumps again when looking at those who participated for more than five years, with over six in ten (63 percent) sharing this sentiment and over three-quarters (77 percent) of those still involved say it was very or extremely influential. Overall, just 18 percent say it was not at all influential.
Gaining skills on and off the field
Much more than just learning how to dribble a ball or throw a strike, participation in athletics has the ability to provide various skills that may be needed for success in a job or career. Those who were involved in athletics during school years agree that the skills they learned spanned beyond just those used on the playing field. Nearly seven-in-ten (69 percent) feel their participation in athletic activities was extremely or very important in providing them with skills to work towards common goals. Similar percentages say it was important in helping them develop skills to strive for individual excellence in a group setting (66 percent) and to have a disciplined approach to problem solving (65 percent). Sixty percent each say athletics was important in helping them with flexibility in work situations and creative problem solving.
Other findings:
Interestingly, those involved in athletics for 3+ years are more likely than those who participated for less than three years to say it was very or extremely important in providing them with each of these skills.
Working towards common goals: 54 percent of those involved less than 3 years vs. 78 percent or more for those involved at least 3 years
Striving for individual excellence in a group setting: 52 percent vs. 75 percent or more
Disciplined approach to solving problems: 51 percent vs. 72 percent or more
Flexibility in work situations: 47 percent vs. 65 percent or more
Creative problem solving: 47 percent vs. 61 percent or more
Additionally, strong majorities of adults agree that the learnings and habits from participating in athletics help individuals later in life. Over eight-in-ten Americans (82 percent), and 87 percent of those who participated themselves, agree the learnings and habits from athletics equip people to be better team players in their career. Seventy-eight percent of the general population (and 83 percent of those who were involved with athletics) say it provides people with a disciplined approach to problem solving, while 77 percent of adults (and 83 percent of those who participated) agree it prepares someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully.
The Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between January 14 and 20, 2015 among 2,232 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. (Market Research, Trends)
SGB Weekly
Dealing With Generations…Especially Millennials
By William F. Kendy

I’ve always been interested and fascinated by generational characteristics, opinions, and behaviors. As a businessman and salesperson I want to know how, what, and why people buy.

Each generation has beliefs, traits, and outlooks that are different from others and, to a great part, dependent on how a person was raised, his or her family environment and influence, and the era. Matures are greatly different then GenX’s. A Millennial raised in a Mature household will have a different view of life then a Millennial raised in a Boomer environment.

There are four different generations that today’s marketers have to consider when developing their marketing and sales plans. Each generation has common general characteristics, beliefs, behaviors, and buying habits. Here is how they are broken down and some of their traits.

Matures (Greatest Generation) were born before 1945, age 69 and older, and total 40 million. Matures are conformists, patriotic, quality-oriented, and like the “tried and true” products and brands. They don’t mind working with salespeople and while they know how to use computers and cell phones, they aren’t high-tech experts.

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, age 50 to 68, and are 80 million strong. Boomers are divided into segments, “Early” (1946-1954) and “Late” (1955-1964) and both have different priorities. Early boomers are nearing retirement while late boomers are getting their kids ready for school.

They are ‘Super Parents”, like to be recognized for their achievements, are into teams yet, at the same time, are competitive, think they are forever young, and keep up with technology. Generation Xs were born between 1965 and 1979, are age 35 to 49, and number approximately 60 million.

They know technology, are well informed, are protective of their personal information and space, and are skeptical…especially of salespeople. They crave attention, don’t like supervision, and prefer non-routines.

Now For The Millennials

Millennials consist of people born between 1980 and 2000 and are age 14 to 34. It is estimated that there are between 60 and 80 million Millennials making them equal to or larger than the Boomer segment.

In my opinion, out of all of the generations, Millennials are the most complex and hardest to read. Here are some key Millennial facts: »» Millennials make up approximately 25 percent of the U.S. population;
»» Millennials are responsible for 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchases, estimated at over $1trillion dollars in direct buying power (partly because 40 percent continue to receive money from their parents and have a huge influence how and what other generations purchase. When you consider that Millennials are entering their acquisition and heavy purchase stage of life, that amount will significantly increase;

»» Millennials are delaying adult decisions longer, such as graduating from college, marriage, and childbearing than any other generation; »» Millennials often seek peer or family affirmations before making decisions – even small ones;
»» Millennials strive for a healthy lifestyle and embrace authentic cause marketing and align to brands with a purpose;
»» Millennials are hooked on social media (just as much as other generations are hooked on e-mails) and are content creators and users;
»» Millennials are interested in participating in your marketing.

Who Are These Millennials Anyway?

In a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group entitled “The Millennial Consumer – Debunking Stereotypes” a group consisting of both Millennials and Non-Millennials were asked which words best described Millennials. While Millennials described themselves in a positive light using words like “hip”, “tech-savvy” and “cool”, non-millennials used words like “lazy”, “spoiled” and “entitled”.

The research also confirmed one stereotype regarding Millennials and that is their technological sophistication and ability.

According to the study, Millennials are extremely comfortable with technology. They’ve largely grown up with technology and social media using these tools as a natural, integrated part of life and work. Millennials consider themselves fast adopters of new technology and applications and are far more likely than non-millennials to be the very first or among the first to try something new. The study went on to say that:
»» 72 percent use MP3 players »» 67 percent use gaming players
»» 59 percent  use smart phones
»» Millennials are much more likely than non-millennials to multi-task while online, constantly moving across platforms – social, mobile, pc and gaming.

The reality is that while Millennials may be challenged to figure out how to turn a television set on without a remote after it is in, they are whiz kids and stars when it comes to programming and working with those devices. Jeff Fromm is the executive vice president of Barkley, a St. Louis-based advertising agency and co-author of the book Marketing to Millennials. Fromm has conducted a number of surveys that delve into Millennial psyche, behavior, and trends. One of the things Fromm cautions marketers is not to view or clump Millennials as or into one large monolithic group.

“Despite these shared beliefs and attitudes, U.S. Millennials are by no means homogeneous,” said Fromm. “On the basis of their responses to questions about technology, cause marketing, media habits, and general outlook on life, we identified six distinct segments within the Millennial population.” The categories are:

»» Hip-ennial, (29 percent), “I Can Make the World a Better Place.” They are cautious consumers, globally aware, charitable, and information hungry. Heavy users of social media and female dominated.

»» Millennial Mom (22 percent) - “I love to work out, travel, and pamper my baby.” They are wealthy, family-oriented, work out regularly, and are digitally savvy. Millennial Moms are older, highly social, and also information hungry.

»» Anti-Millennial (16 percent) - “I am too busy taking care of my business and family to worry about much else.” These Millennials are locally minded, conservative, don’t spend more for green products and services, and seek comfort and familiarity over excitement, change, and interruption.

»» Gadget Guru (13 percent) - “It’s a great day to be me”. Gadget Gurus are successful, wired, free spirited, confident, and at ease. They are primarily single males with above average income who feel that they are in their best decade.

»» Clean and Green Millennial (10 percent) - “I take care of myself and the world around me.” This subgroup is impressionable, cause driven, healthy, green, and positive. It is male dominated and skews younger.

»» Old-School Millennial (10 percent) - “Connecting on Facebook is too impersonal, let’s meet for coffee instead.” Old Schools are not wired, are cautious consumers, and comfortable. Confident, independent and self-directed. They are older and read more often.

Now that we know who Millennials are, here are some suggestions from the experts as to what marketers can do to endear themselves to this large and important segment:
»» Create accounts in FaceBook, Twitter and other social media – experiment.
»» Focus on creating content that is “shareworthy, meaningful and fun.”
»» Listen to the conversation and see what individuals are texting, tweeting and blogging…above all…don’t talk down.
»» Don’t be overly commercial
»» Be constant with your messages and do what you say you will do to gain trust.
»» Communicate on a personal level and develop a dialogue with your audience.
»» Promote your cause affiliations.
»» Save them money.
»» Make buying easy and seamless…don’t make them talk to someone.
»» They were brought up thinking that they are “special” and you need to treat them that way.
Posted: 7/24/2015 3:38:36 PM

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