Page Menu Options


‘The New Mainstream’ reveals six diverse audience segments that challenge the millennial stereotypes.


Three in four 18-34 year-olds do not identify with the millennial label, reveals Time Inc. UK which launches a new youth panel to challenge how the audience is perceived. The insight identifies six segments in the market, their influences and how they interact, signalling that marketers and advertisers need to take action and move away from treating millennials as one homogenous group to avoid their targeting falling short.

Time Inc research

‘The New Mainstream’ ‘will become an ongoing initiative from Time Inc. UK to further understanding of the diverse personas within the millennial audience, so that marketers and advertisers can better unlock their commercial power. New youth panel ‘The Stream’ is launched to let commercial partners utilise real-time insight and improve the accuracy of targeting as the audience – and the segments – continue to evolve.

Romano Sidoli, managing director of Time Inc. UK’s Innovation Group, which reaches millennials every week through the NME, LOOK and Now brands, says: “The danger of advertisers not thinking about this audience in the right way is that they are at risk of their campaigns only reaching the very edges of the group, or missing them completely. Millennials are often perceived as one audience instead of the six individual groups we are seeing and we want to spell the end of that broad brush approach.”

The six millennial audience segments identified are:

Troubled Traditionalists

Troubled Traditionalists (23%) – mainly female [67%], have medium income, enjoy eating out and invest in experiences. Troubled Traditionalists are less likely to follow brands on social media, prefer to do their own research or recommendations from family or friends. They want honest, knowledgeable and entertaining content.

Hashtag heroes

Hashtag Heroes (11%) – the youngest of the personas, those aged 18-21 (44%) are most likely to be a Hashtag Hero than any other group and 60% are female. Typically students or at the start of their career, they are most interested in music, tech and eating out, spending their money mainly on socialising. Entertaining content is what draws them in and they tend to follow brands and experts on social media.

responsible rebels

Responsible Rebels (10%) – mainly aged 25-34 [56%] with almost half being parents [43%], this group is career-focussed, earn the highest income of the segments and are high spenders. They have a broad range of interests and they follow experts, media brands and friends on social media.

urban optimist

Urban Optimists (18%) – mainly aged 25 – 34 (61%) similar to the Responsible Rebels, Urban Optimists have a high income and high spend compared to other millennials. This group like their discovery to be curated by trusted sources (43%) and while they are keen to discover new brands, trust those they are already purchasing from. The content that engages them tends to be inspiring and personal.

Sofa Surfers

Sofa Surfers (22%) – mainly aged 25-34 [71%] with a lower income and many being unemployed [12%]. They are low spenders with few interests. This group is the least likely to interact with brands – it tends to be friends they engage with on social media – or seek out new consumer brands.

Crowdsourcing consumers

Crowdsourcing Consumers (16%) – this audience tends to be male (54%), have a medium income but are quite big spenders. Direct and authoritative content will engage them, with playful tone also piquing their interest.

In-depth quantitative research with a nationally representative pool of 2,000 18-34 year- olds – carried out by d.fferento/ogy on behalf of Time Inc. UK – marks the launch The New Mainstream initiative, challenging current perceptions of this audience.

Contradicting current perceptions of this audience, family (67%) and financial security (49%) were found to be most important to them right now, closely followed by friends (48%); that they consider themselves to be good people (47%); and career (41%). Most take the viewpoint that their generation will be the first to be more financially worse off than their parents (68%) and almost half (48%) prioritise responsibility over pleasure, considering themselves to be mostly rational compared to hedonistic (42%).

Many either feel settled down (45%) or would like to be (31%), with just 20% being content to not be. The majority of those aged 25-34 say they feel settled down (60%) compared to 31% of the younger 18-24 group. Signposting their hopes for the future, the audience predict family (66%) and financial security (57%) will continue to be most important to them at ages 35-54, with owning their own property (49%), career (47%) and being in a long term relationship (47%) also forecast to be in their top five priorities.

While this digitally savvy audience for the most part like to be constantly switched on to the online world (59%), 32% enjoy a digital detox to help them relax.

The research follows the success of recent Time Inc. UK campaigns with Google, Apple, and Topman.


Source Magnetic Media