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‘Fresh’ Research on Millennial Men  ….  Engage Research

by on December 2, 2017 in Business, Digital Marketing, Latest News, Lead Article, News you can use, Nuggets, Research, Retail News, Social Media

‘Fresh’ Research on Millennial Men  ….  Engage Research

Two thirds of Millennial Men feel brands are important as a way of expressing themselves, new research finds

A new study into the hopes and aspirations of so-called Millennial Man – those born between 1987 and 2000 – has found that more than two thirds feel ‘brands’ are important as a way of expressing themselves to others, a majority feel they are unlikely to ever afford a house of their own and are desperate to earn a high salary when young to have enough to support their older self and family. .. Engage Research 

The study conducted by consumer insight agency Engage Research focuses on the hopes, fears and priorities of Millennial Man across a range of different subject areas.

Findings include:


More than two thirds felt ‘brands’ are important as a way of expressing themselves to others. Over 76% of men under 24 want brands to listen to them more. This number drops as age increases

Overall, over two thirds of men feel either strongly, or kind of relate to the feeling that brand is important; slightly more claimed affinity amongst those 24 years old or younger, with the figure dropping ever so slightly amongst our older (35-44 year olds) men. He cares about brands that enable him to express his personality – what he wears, the technology he purchases.

Only 18% of men say that if a brand they don’t know or don’t like sponsors their football team, they would definitely be less likely to support them. This is fairly unsurprising, as it seems to suggest that men’s loyalty to their football team is deeper than which sponsor is on the kit or in another prominent place. Based on the results of other questions, men don’t appear to have an extreme amount of brand loyalty, at least not enough to complicate their support of their football team.

Bonus Time : Hiking and long-distance walking are fun activities that provide a wealth of physical and psychological benefits. But these needn’t be grueling activities – in fact, you should do everything you can to make it easier to walk or hike.


Around 60% of 18-24 & 35-44 year olds feel they are unlikely to ever afford a house of their own (rising to 71% of 25-34 year olds).

“For many, the idea of being able to save enough to put down a deposit on a house feels like an unachievable mountain,” explains Lyndsay Peck, Director, Engage Research.  

“In a world where everything happens now, the thought of giving up or cutting back for a couple of years feels like a life sentence. And to make matters worse there is no knowing whether, at the end of the couple of years of cutting back, they will have actually saved enough to get a flat. So, for many, he just wants to enjoy the money he has, in ways he wants to.”


Happiness is important to Millennial Man and is driven by the notion of sharing life and experiences with others. As he grows older Millennial Man realises that money and status don’t guarantee contentment.

This is largely the intangible of having a family and/or others around them, and building strong, loving relationships (to love and be loved in return). This leads into a sense of feeling secure, though not necessarily financially so. This is the notion that it is richer to have others around you to provide contentment than materialistic gains.

Millennial Man is also somewhat reflective and philanthropic: it’s his personality & positive impact on others that he most wants to be remembered for.

When asked what he wants to be remembered for:

45% He was kind

40% He was smart

36% He was fun to be around

28% He was a brilliant dad

20% He was cool


90% of Millennial Men feel it’s their ‘right’ to be in a job they love. Keeping millennial employees engaged, satisfied and happy are key pressures for businesses wanting to drive retention.

Lyndsay Peck, Director, Engage Research: 

“There seems to be a high desire to work for companies like Google, Microsoft, and Pixar, for example, who have not been shy at promoting how cool their offices are, how much employees are trusted, and how flexible working can be. Millennial Man expects to be entertained and to be given every opportunity to get involved.  There seems to be less appreciation for the concept of ‘working hard to gain experience’.

The issue companies are left with is a risk of high turn-over at the entry level talent pool, causing financial and time bruises as recruitment and training needs to start over and over again. It’s safe to surmise that it’s not just men who have this attitude. We are sure plenty of women feel motivated to be like this as she proves herself a worthy contender to climb the career ladder.”


Money dominates Millennial Man’s mind throughout his life with an ambition to earn a high salary when young, and desperation to hold onto his job and have enough to support his older self and family. When he is young, he believes this is how life success and satisfaction will be measured.  The more he can earn, the better human being he is, the more respected he will be by his peers.

However, as he starts to face some of the realities of life, the concerns of the potential impact should anything go wrong, money stops driving ambition and starts to feature more in his worries and concerns.  The unknown and uncertainty of his job, wanting to ensure he can keep himself and his loved ones comfortable.

Lyndsay Peck, Director, @engageresearch  Engage Research:

It’s interesting that while his conscious (albeit younger) self believes money can buy happiness, his reflective mind says otherwise, it is quickly moved to one side as he realises meaningful relationships, companionship, love and respect are the key to happiness and feeling satisfied and fulfilled.” 

“This is a strong insight for any brand looking to forge or deepen relationships with consumers. It’s about finding the ‘sweetspot’ where value is recognised, celebrated and reciprocated both ways. It’s about building trust through transparency, building a bond through clear messages of promised value & meaning.”


The majority of Millennial Men recognise the pressure to conform to politically correct expectations and equality (esp. in the 18-24 age group @ 90%). Equality has also enabled a greater freedom to express emotions and he has ‘permission’ to be more involved & experience family (through play & chores).

When asked about how he feels about equality, the language he uses is interesting.  He describes it as ‘pressure’, an ‘expectation’ that he should be on-board with equality.

But, & especially the younger age group, it’s something that is in his conscious, he feels he has to ‘toe the line’ – if not, the consequences could be severe.  It’s not just how he should think & feel about equality, it’s all round PC behaviour & opinion too.

85% of men feel the pressure to be all things & conform to / accept equality nowadays (this rises to 90% of the <18-24 year olds). However, 73% of men would like to live or marry someone who has equal pay, but feels there is still an expectation that HE should be the breadwinner – the provider for the home and family.

75% of the 18-24 year olds and 90% of the 25-44 year olds are doing more, or are conscious of the need to do more household chores.

Health & Fitness

Sport & exercise demonstrates some difference between the under 25’s and the overs. For the younger demographic, it’s ‘sport’ – a team game that is played because he ‘wants to’, he enjoys it and gets personal value from taking part.  However, post 25, it becomes more of an ‘exercise’ issue, something he has to consciously think about.  Either he can no longer commit to a weekly football (or other game) team because of greater demands on his time like family and career, or he is starting to become aware of the need to take care of himself, thus sport transitions into necessary exercise (a conscious task).

The study asked men a good number of things about their lives, encouraged them to reflect on things they aspire to have or to be, things that worry them, the definition of happiness. He is concerned about his overall health, worried about developing what could be considered obesity-related diseases, but never once consciously attributing the conditions to any weight gain that may occur. The mutterings of weight consciousness came from the 35-44 year olds who were aware that ‘middle-age spread’ is a risk they are closer to than ever before.

Lyndsay Peck, Director, Engage Research:

“For us, this was an interesting find. With so much media coverage, heightened pressure for him to care about how he looks, beyond just grooming and clothes, plus the fact the research was conducted in the run up to Christmas, where the likes of Joe Wicks and Jamie Oliver among others are constantly reminding us that sugar and carbohydrates are bad for us, and that doing 20 minute fitness sessions per day can help lead to a more defined body.”

When it comes to health and death, Millennial Man has as much concern about seeing or experiencing others go through horrific times as going through them himself. While he doesn’t want to die young, he most certainly doesn’t want to grow old, into loneliness.  He values having others around him to share his life, his experiences and his dreams.  He doesn’t want to face a lonesome journey.

11% claim to have no worries in life.


For Millennial Man, holidays are about relaxing, experiencing other cultures or getting the adrenaline pumping. Presented with a list of options (Adventure, Backpacking, Beach, Camping, City Break, Clubbing, Cruise, Fly & Drive, Safari, Ski/snowboarding, Spa, Surfing, Theme Parks, Trekking/hiking & Volunteering), the most popular type of holiday was beach focused (with 35+ year olds, equally favouring camping)

There is very little claimed interest in Surfing & Clubbing holidays. If not on the beach, exploring a new city or seeing wild animals in their natural habitat, he will chose a holiday that combines the great outdoors, with ‘gentle exploration’ – so camping / backpacking / trekking/hiking

Precious time away from work is spent with those closest to him. Millennial Man’s ideal holiday companions are: Partner (46%); Family (23%); Best Mate (13%); A small group of mates (11%); A large group of mates (4%).

Eating & Drinking Out

It’s interesting to see that the pub itself it isn’t considered to be all that important. This is because it’s the people Millennial Man is with and the experience they are sharing is deemed more important than where they are.

43% of men don’t really think about what they are seen eating or drinking while out and about – it isn’t important to them, whilst only 20% of men strongly felt that if a pub or bar didn’t serve their favourite brand, that they wouldn’t go.

When it comes to choosing his venues, though, brand doesn’t really feature that greatly.  He is likely to have a repertoire of ‘acceptable alternatives (brands / drink types)’ if his favourite brand isn’t available.  Where he becomes uncomfortable is when choice is relatively limited, especially in bars that lean towards craft beers rather than mainstream lagers.


It’s been a topic of stereotypical conversation – women moan that men always look bored or don’t ‘contribute’ to the shopping experience (when shopping for self).  There is a unanimous agreement that he doesn’t even particularly enjoy shopping for himself!  Do, if he doesn’t consider personal shopping an important element in his life – where do we feel grocery shopping is going to sit?  Proving disrupting and driving in-store behaviour is a big challenge in FMCG, especially as he doesn’t consider cooking an important element of his life either.

Lyndsay Peck, Director, Engage Research:

“The younger man is more likely to go shopping and be invested in fashion, while the 35-44 age bracket is most likely shifting (or already shifted) into a different role: men of this age typically have or are having kids (if they are planning on it), so their free time to go shopping or invest in brands is limited. While likely to claim a relatively low level of recognition, half of those included in the survey claimed that brands enable him to express himself in a certain way to others. Regardless, some brands and products are used by way of letting others know what he has achieved (what he can afford & who he believes he is or wants to be).” 

What does this mean for brands?  Well, being open to spending more is exciting, but we need to remember he puts greater value on experience than materialistic ownership.  It’s about understanding what role or partnership you can play in his life, look to fit in with him rather than drive a change in attitude towards your brand’s way of thinking.

Social Media

  • 66% of men under 34 say they like or follow brands on social media. However, less than 55% of men in the 35-44 age group say they do the same. Just over 25% believe social media drives a fear of missing out. A quarter of men under 24 strongly feel this way – most likely following and engaging with numerous brands on social media on a regular basis. Only 16% of men aged 35-44 say the same. With the true value of brand engagement on social media only becoming apparent in the last decade – on some platforms even more recently, this explains this fact.
  • Interestingly however, when combining “strongly feel” and “kind of feel” categories, it’s actually the 25-34 year olds who come out on top for following brands on social media, with 68% of men saying so. For reference, 65% of men under 24 and 55% of men aged 35-44 say the same.
  • The role & use of social media is multi-faceted (as you would expect, given it’s reach & rich content).  Largely, when using social media for personal gratification he is consuming information. He may share pertinent things with others (a select few rather than his cohort of followers), but curation is not common.  He will use social media as a source of information, to better / expand his own knowledge & enrich his opinions. He isn’t overly interested in engaging or immersing himself in pop culture, however
  • Almost half of 18-24 year olds are conscious of actively taking selfies & sharing them on social media. This drops dramatically in the older groups – to around 12%.  While he may feature in a selfie, the chances are he’s being forced to pose & smile by his girlfriend or other people in the snap.

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