Marketing to South African Millennials

Marketing to South African consumers present numerous challenges to marketers. Not only are we a culturally diverse nation but we also have a very young and passionate population. The fast pace of technology, the country’s political history and changing social dynamics over the past 20 years add unique generational dynamics to South African consumers that marketers need to consider.

Millennials were born between the early 1980s and the 2000s, and can be described as the most tech-savvy and social generation in history. Their affinity for technology has shaped the way in which they shop, interact with brands and the decisions they make about brands and their products. Often labelled as the ‘over-confident’ and ‘self-entitled’ generation, but love them or loathe them there is no escaping the fact that they are making massive contributions to the marketplace.

66% of the South African population is aged 35 years or younger.

It’s no wonder millennials, and their younger counterparts Gen Z, have become a prime target for companies. They represent huge purchasing power and are only growing in number. Millennials were entering their teenage years when mobile phones were introduced in South Africa and understand the impact of technology. They are the mobile first generation and are passionate about incorporating technology in their daily lives.

76% of millennials trust content shared by real people more than brand advertising.

User-generated content is king and social media influencers have become content royalty. Millennials are the most connected generation. They are tech savvy and digital natives. Brands need to embrace the digital world with open arms if they are to connect with them. Two-way conversations is imperative and seamless brand experiences across in-store, digital and mobile is key. Millennials want authenticity and are not interested in hard sells at all. They are a generation that only responds to the things that they care about.

The millennial group watches the most online videos.

Where previously television was the most effective way to reach mass consumers; online video has in recent years quickly overtaken and for a fraction of the price. And we have millennials to thank for this monumental shift. Millennials are not only influenced by this marketing form but they have shaped the way businesses do video. Short attention spans and the unique characteristics of millennials have forced marketers to think differently about content creation and storytelling.

At least 37% of millennials will make a purchase that supports a cause they believe in.

Now more than ever, young people in South Africa are aware of the importance of knowing what is happening in their social, political and economic worlds. Being in the know is now considered ‘cool’ and social media is driving this phenomenon. Millennials are no longer just couch activists but are activity mobilising the masses to support the causes they believe in, just take a look at the #FeesMustFall and #TheTotalShutdown movements.

90% of millennials ages 18-29 are on social media.

Social media plays a key role in how millennials interact with others and how they process information. What’s even more impressive than their presence on social media is the level of their social engagement online. Millennials are no longer just content consumers, they are also content creators. They want brands to give them more than just functional benefits. They want memorable experiences that they can post, tweet or share online because according to them “if its not online, did it even happen?”

If you were wondering if you should market your business to millennials. The answer is yes, or should I say YAASSS! And the first step would be to meet them where they are – online. Develop and curate a strong online presence but also remember to express a genuine passion for your work and the community. Bearing in mind that if it’s not mobile and social, it’s most likely not going to work.

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