Worried Millennials Require Special Touch During Covid-19
Mike Baglietto |
 04/08/20 |
4 min read


Brands are not living their best lives right now, and if the main segment they’re targeting is millennials, it may be even harder to reach them. Worried millennials require a special touch during Covid-19 – one that we’ll explore here.

Millennials have always been unique with spending habits. So how exactly is the coronavirus impacting their spending? And how they feel is something to keep top of mind as we sort this out.

Millennial Psychology Matters

When you think of the term millennial, what comes to mind? Chances are it’s the stereotypical lazy, entitled, oversensitive and unprepared. But did you know that millennials actually do care – a lot? Even without a global pandemic, millennials are concerned about their finances, and are often worried about if they are making enough money to live a fulfilling future.

Add a global pandemic into the mix, and seemingly everything we once knew about them has gone out the window. And if your brand’s target market is millennials, it’s very likely that you are struggling to reach them right now. Yes, more so than other segments.

Your marketing efforts are in dire need of a significant shift to get your message across, and your message needs to be what your audience needs to hear right now. And the most effective way to do this is through a strong social listening strategy, of course. It’s important to know what your target demographic is talking about, as well as what they are (or aren’t) purchasing and where you fit in their personal life journey these days. There’s still a place for you, you just have to be willing to find it.

Let’s explore how millennials have shifted their spending habits from before Covid-19 to now to do just that!

Millennial Spending Habits Before Coivd-19

Prior to the majority of the nation being under stay home advisories or orders, many millennials were shopping for their Spring wardrobes, were planning vacations and getting ready to attend their favorite band’s concert. They took pride in spending on experiences vs. things. Lots of it.

In fact, if you look at the overall sentiment and conversation happening around travel and Spring Break just before the pandemic broke, you’ll see that it was overwhelmingly positive.


But many millennials have moved beyond spring break conversations to meeting for brunch and the like. A quick search for “brunch” on social media will lead you to pages upon pages of posts of people sharing their experiences with lavish brunch dining.


Regardless of where they were on the experience spending spectrum, all of that came to a halt just a couple of days later. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors and the entertainment industry took a big hit.

What once was a feed full of beautiful dinners and restaurants when searching for brunch content is now content showing how brands are changing the way millennials brunch, like this spot in Canada.


So, if millennials aren’t spending on experiences right now, what are they spending on?

Millennial Spending Shift During These Covid-19 Days

A survey done by First Insight shows that approximately 54% of millennials say that their purchase decisions are being impacted by the coronavirus, including if, when and where they shop. In fact, 39% of millennials are shopping less frequently in stores while 30% are shopping online more.

Now more than ever, this generation is turning to being more conscious about where they put their money, as millions of people are being laid off around the globe. And while many restaurants are offering to-go orders and delivery service, online grocery shopping stats are indicating that customers are preparing more fresh, organic meals at home to save money and stay healthy. The pandemic’s impact on product shortages is even causing more people to reuse and recycle products when they can.

What once was just something you’d grab at your local market became trending topics at the peak of the pandemic. Notice that around March 13th there was a large spike in key word mentions tied to groceries and toilet paper. If you were on social media those days, it’s highly likely you saw a post or two about the lack of products on the shelves in stores around the nation.


So, what does this all mean for your brand? Well, to start, even if your customers can’t shop with you right now doesn’t mean they have tuned you out. They’re watching, and what you do now matters.

Brands Winning Millennial Love

What can this look like for your brand? Here are some great examples.

Coca Cola chose to display social distancing messaging in what is normally one of the most crowded places on Earth – Times Square. It even added distancing between the lettering in its iconic logo:


Amidst a cancelled St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston, the Drop Kick Murphys took to the internet to hold a virtual concert for their fans. And they did it from a secret location so no one could show up to watch live with them:


And we see Chipotle giving away free burritos to healthcare workers, Krispy Kreme is giving dozens of donuts to them and Starbucks is giving coffee to healthcare workers and first responders for the duration of the outbreak.

Don’t have free coffee and donuts to give? Consider reaching out to your customers via social media or email. Let them know you miss them, and that you can’t wait to see them again soon. Encourage them to continue practicing social distancing, and show what you have to offer, even if it’s just support – or even a virtual gathering.

After all, millennials both expect and want communication from you about Covid-19 right now, so get it on as that feeling may change. And then you’ve missed a chance to meaningfully connect – at a time when long-term connections are being made too.

If you’re ready to jump in and see how you can reach your millennial audience right now with the right messaging, reach out to us for a demo and we can help you get started.

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