The Changing Face of Millennials in India

Millennials today are much more relevant than they were in previous generations. They are making a mark in every aspect of life be it business or sport or lifestyle and such. They are trailblazers and the rest of the society is seen to be following on their footsteps.

The primary hypothesis is that Millennials, have different notions of society and culture, unlike their parents. Thus, their decisions towards major institutions like marriage, jobs, friends and property are changing.

In an effort to better understand these trends, CoLife (a coliving & coworking platform based out of Bangalore) monitored conversations of people on Social media regarding various topics like family, student loans, housing and so on. A survey was also conducted by interviewing millennials from urban areas to gain insights. This survey attempts to gauge the possible change in life decisions made by the new millennial generation in terms of housing, travel, work, marriage etc.

India is the land of millennials and is positioned to be the youngest nation in the world with 200 Million Indians who are in the age group of 18 – 35, where digital access is becoming mobile-driven. 85% of the weekly internet millennial population in India now owns a smart phone. Out of this, 43% use social media daily or watch Videos online and 11% use mobile payment on weekly basis. Digital connectivity has become a priority for Millennials. Millennials expect to create a better future, using the collaborative power of digital technology.2828 tweets were collected around data and broadband services on Twitter for September and October 2016. Out of this, 56% tweets were around complaints about not being able to connect to the internet. While looking for accommodation, Wifi availability is given priority. 73.6% also say their building condition could be better. They would also welcome facilities like video games (31.6%) and movie nights (42.1%) where they live.

The concept of sharing is steadily gaining popularity among Millennials with living and working spaces, vacation accommodations and even taxis being shared with strangers. Flatmate and Roomate was the third highest topic being talked about on Twitter. House Ownership rates are extremely low among millennials with merely 1% opting to buy their own home. 36.8% live in rented homes and 57% live with their parents or immediate family.

Millennials feel that the ideal deposit amount should be only 2 months rent but 36.8% have paid 4-6 months rent. 42.1% pay rent between Rs 5000-8000, but 57.9% are willing to pay up to 10% more if the service is developed.

“Solitude sometimes is best society.” Hence, 57.9% people do not wish to share their own private space whereas 42.1% people would like to live with inspiring new people. 57.9% people have never heard of co-living.

A study on marriage reflects that 73.7% millennials think that one should marry only when they are ready, but out of these 57.9% people are between the ages of 25-30 and single. 70% of the respondents believe that living in a nuclear family is disadvantageous. They believe that living in a nuclear family leads to stress among the family and can create major problems in the future.

Preferred Means of Transportation reflects that 40% millennials said that they use public transportation whereas, 55% have their own vehicles. Among these groups 40% have said that they would prefer to car pool over using public transportation or travelling by their own cars. Cab aggregators say that the highest percentage of their customers are from the millennial age group. Many of them prefer to use the cab sharing facility since it saves money.

When it comes to career aspirations 52% of millennials surveyed in India say, if given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years. The figure increases to 76% when the time frame is extended to 2020.

National Economy indicates that 54% millennials anticipate a financial crisis. However, 96% still believe in an “Indian Dream” and 68% think that they can earn more than their parents. Millennials in India are not adequately preparing for the post-retirement life as retirees increasingly face several challenges, including higher medical and other expenses.

Education loans, which should be paid off quite early in the career are becoming a major cause of stress for millennials. 57% conversations about debts on social media sites were about needy students not being granted loans and 30% believe the interest rates are too high.

Affluent millennials are the most likely to have debts. 68% affluent millennials have a balance on their credit card payments. 52%,27% and 22% on personal, business & student loans.

“The greatest wealth is health.” 36% millennials have a fitness app installed on their phones. Working out to keep themselves fit is the activity that most respondents prefer to do after work. More than 50% also prefer to eat at home more than 5 times a week. About 45% millennials think that leading a healthy life is a priority. 60% millennials disapprove of smoking while 21% disapprove of drinking. Most of them say that they prefer drinking over smoking.

When it comes to millennials, their work related priorities are remuneration, security, great leaders, holidays & flexible working hours. Based on the social media data, independent surveys & external research, Millennials in India are no different from Millennials across the world. They are indeed global citizens unlike their parents. Independent, opportunistic and career focused are some of the essential traits of Millennials. Digital life is what fuels their interest and passion. Internet is the primary mode of expression in their lives. Nonetheless, a physically active and healthy life is of importance to Millennials. However, economically Millennials have lot of challenges. To cope up with this and the increasing stress in urban lifestyle, shared economy is preferred among any other mode. Because of this, relationship and certain valves of traditional family values are chipping away.

Many millennials define success through independence, freedom and being able to travel the world.69% feel that their leadership skills are not fully being developed.94% believe that professional success should be measured by more than financial performance. Millennial Indians work 52 hours per week on an average. India has topped the charts in a global survey by the Manpower Group. When it comes to luxury purchasing power 50% of the diamond jewelry sold in India was bought by millennials in 2015.

Based on the social media data, independent survey and external research reports it is clear that Millennials in India are no different from Millennials across the world. ‘Millennials’ is the most talked about topic on twitter among the keywords monitored. Males predominantly tweet on topics related to the keywords.

In summary the study clearly outlines shifting preferences and trends among this energetic and bubbly socio economic group. It is important to take cognizance of this fact and accordingly adapt ones marketing strategies. CoLife the author of this study only reinforced their beliefs with the outcome and are planning a slew of initiatives that are custom made for millennial consumption.

The above article is an extract of the Research Presented at the Yale University of Management by – Suresh Rangarajan – Founder and CEO Colife and M.D. Artha Properties