By Steve Noe
Not until December 2012 had I ever heard of the word “Millennial.” Now, hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear that word mentioned, which is why the theme of this issue of OPE is “Millennials.”
My introduction to the word “Millennial” actually came while I was working on January 2013 OPE. Specifically, I was editing the written responses submitted by Rick Zeckmeister on behalf of Briggs & Stratton Corporation for “OPE’s 2013 Industry Forecasts,” an annual Q&A with industry leaders on the state of the industry heading into the New Year. When asked what will be the top trends in the OPE industry in 2013, Zeckmeister responded with the following two trends:
1) Increased demand for goods made in the USA
2) Selling to younger generations
Elaborating on his second trend, Zeckmeister wrote, “By 2030, Millennials (those born between 1977 and 1995) will account for a third of all homeowners. And, they will command over $200 billion in annual spending power. Both manufacturers and dealers need to understand how they can best serve this generation, especially since they are new homeowners, and new buyers of outdoor power equipment. The Millennial consumer looks for dealers who can help them service their outdoor power equipment, and they look for products that are made in the USA, by companies that are committed to American manufacturing. To Millennials, it means jobs for American workers and their neighbors — a generation hit hard by the Recession. This younger consumer also values companies that embrace sustainability efforts and community involvement.”
Wow! Mind blown! Drop the mic! To borrow a line from one of my favorite movies “Jerry Maguire,” Zeckmeister had me at “Millennials.” The defined age range for Millennials is subject for debate*, but Zeckmeister is looking like a genius on his assessment and predictions when it comes to Millennials.
Once I read Zeckmeister’s response to the 2013 industry trends question, I really wanted to know everything that he and his marketing team at Briggs & Stratton knew about Millennials, so I turned to them for subsequent articles on that generation. The latest in this series of Millennial-related articles by Briggs & Stratton appears in this issue; please be sure to check out Andrew Ewig’s article on “Confessions of a Millennial Homeowner” on pages 18-20.
Continuing the Millennial theme and articles written by Millennials, Denny Dow of Black Ink Technologies contributed an article on “How to Win Over Millennials” on pages 14-16.
Rather than steal the thunder of both of these gentlemen and rattle off a bunch of facts and figures about Millennials, I’ll step aside and allow you to read both of their Millennial-related articles, and I hope that you find them helpful when it comes to catering to Millennial customers.
*Expert opinions vary regarding the start and end dates of the Millennial generation. Nielsen Media Research defines Millennials as those born 1977-1995, while demographers William Straus and Neil Howe define Millennials as those born 1982-2004.
OPE Senior Editor Steve Noe