Millennials

Why Millennials Don't Trust Ads, Real Estate or Social Security

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Gen Y is apparently suspicious of tradition: according to a new report, millennials are over conventional advertising, home ownership and the promise of social security. 

Millennials value authenticity more highly than the content itself when consuming news, according to a survey of 1,300 Elite Daily readers, nearly all in the millennial age range between the ages of 18 and 35, released by Elite Daily and Millennial Branding. As a result, they are relying on new ways to consume media, with 33 percent selecting blogs as their top media source. Fewer than 3 percent rank television news, magazines and books as influencing their decisions and only 1 percent said a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more.

"They're used to not trusting CEOs and politicians and just corporations in general," says Dan Schawbel, founder of the Gen Y research and management consulting firm Millennial Branding. "That's why they like blogs so much. Blogs, they feel, are written by an individuals, there's typically not an agenda, and it’s a personal account of their thoughts and how they're feeling, and so they can better align with that, especially if the content is written by someone who understands them or someone who is a millennial themselves."

The rejection of traditional media as inauthentic comes part and parcel with the trend of millennials discarding other norms accepted by previous generations. For example, the majority of millennials (59 percent) would rather rent a house than purchase one. As a result, homeownership, once the mark of adulthood, is increasingly delayed.

Related: Attention Millennials: How to Excel at the Dying Art of Phone Conversations (Infographic)

Why are millennials trashing tradition? Don't just blame millennials' delayed marriages and love for newfangled technology. Most of the individuals surveyed in the study have come of age in a rough economic climate, something that has had a huge effect on their spending habits.

Around three-quarters of millennials surveyed believe that the economy has negatively impacted their ability to save and spend money. In fact, homeownership isn't down simply because millennials are turned off by tradition – 61 percent say that they just can't afford to buy a home right now. Millennials aren't expecting things to get better either, with 62 percent saying that they don't believe they will receive social security at age 66.

"They're definitely less trusting. They don't want to have the same careers as their parents. They are brand loyal, but to get their attention is much harder," says Schawbel. "There's a reason why brands spend so much money trying to reach them… They're definitely harder to get, [but] there are 80 million in America, so you can't really avoid them."

Related: 3 Ways Brands Are Marketing Nostalgia in the Age of Throwback Thursday

Edition: December 2016

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