Millennials and Generation Z, Explained by Spotify

James Manso
·3 min read

Millennials and Generation Z’s viewpoint on society upends those of past generations, and according to Spotify, brands need a new way to appeal to the demographic.

Melissa Finney, director of partnerships, consumer packaged goods, at Spotify, said the two generations’ outlooks on society are impacting how they view brands, and how brands can effectively communicate to them, as tracked in Spotify’s annual survey on global trends.

“We have over 300 million streamers on Spotify. Seventy-six percent of our audience is under 35, and our average podcast listener is 25,” Finney said. “What they want is different from past generations. They want brands that inspire their creativity, and connect with their enterprising mentality. They expect brands to take action on social issues,” she said.

Finney said the generations’ behaviors can be broken down into three key trends: an independent approach to work and success, a growing sense of community via discovery and the prioritization of social “progress over partisanship.”

“What they want is different from past generations. They want brands that inspire their creativity, connect with their enterprising mentality, and they expect brands to take action on social issues,” she said.

Generation Z’s entrepreneurial mind-set leads them to a much more holistic view of success than previous generations. “Through our global reporting, we met with entrepreneurs, activists and artists. We saw data from 12 countries. It turns out Generation Z is completely rethinking college, and one in three might not go at all,” Finney said. “They’re also rethinking the workforce — 65 percent plan to be, or already are, their own boss.”

Finney noted trend has already made its way to beauty, citing the rise in influencer-founded beauty brands. She sees opportunity for brands to incorporate audio, specifically podcasting, in their marketing. “Build campaigns around creators support their ingenuity and resourcefulness. Also, it’s time to get creative with audio and use it in cool new ways. Audio offers deeply engaged listeners using minimal production resources,” she said.

Fostering a sense of community is also imperative to gaining Gen Z’s and Millennials’ attention and trust, particularly by supporting a diverse range of interests created the strongest sense of camaraderie. “Seventy percent said it’s easier to feel connected to a community thanks to digital platforms, and when asked about the elements that fueled their discovery, 76 percent said music and 68 percent cited podcasts,” she said, adding that 45 percent of Millennials listen to five genres regularly. “Exploring what’s different is encouraged,” she said.

Lastly, social consciousness is imperative. “Several causes emerged as areas of focus, like trans visibility, women’s rights, loneliness, mental health, and especially climate action,” Finney said, saying that the Black Lives Matter movement gained by far the most urgency. “Activations throughout the year should show that you’re living up to your ethos, walking the walk. Let activists and community leaders speak to your causes that you care about, and then use the platform to amplify their voices and tell their stories.”

For more from WWD.com, see:

Sephora x Kohl’s, Ulta Beauty x Target: Beauty Retailers Vie for Prestige Shoppers

By the Numbers: Millennial and Gen Z Invest in Beauty

Billie Eilish, Rosalía and More Perform at Spotify’s Pre-Grammy Bash

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