Millennials have come of age in a time of unprecedented technological growth and economic unrest. Their lifestyle is vastly different than their parents. Now 26-40 years old, Millennials, also referred to as Gen Y, saw their parents impacted by the 2007-2009 Great Recession and now make up the majority of parents to children under 18. They are the largest generation in the U.S. when compared to Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. With an estimated purchasing power often cited as $2.5 trillion, few businesses can afford to miss the signals about what influences Millennial values and purchasing behavior. 

While similar to Gen Z in some respects, Millennials are the ones who have made terms like the gig economy, purpose-driven marketing, and user-generated content more than just fleeting buzzwords. Marigold Engage by Sailthru by Marigold’s U.S. Millennial Consumer Trends Index 2023 explores some of the major shifts that are in play. This partial list of our findings focuses on how Millennials engage with, and choose which brands to keep in their lives.

61% of Millennials have made a purchase from an email in the last year.

Even though they are the first generation of social media natives, email remains one of the most powerful channels for reaching Millennials. Personalized communication is a must, and their affinity for technology helps shape how they shop. They are accustomed to instant access to price comparisons, product information, and peer reviews. As time-pressed parents or one of the millions with side hustles or members of the gig economy, emails that offer highly relevant product offerings add value and convenience to their lives. Email remains one of the most effective and efficient ways to personalize a customer journey. 

45% of Millennials have made a purchase from an SMS message in the last year.

Millennials are the first generation whose lives revolve around the near-constant use of their mobile phones. They were the first to demand omnichannel experiences for everyday tasks like banking, booking doctor’s appointments, shopping, and of course, staying connected to the world on a 24/7 basis. Similar to all generations, Millennials reward businesses that make the shopping experience convenient and friction-free. Now is the time for marketers to optimize their mobile platforms and ensure that browsing, purchasing, and returning are as simple as possible. 

84% of Millennials say that their favorite brand influences their life beyond the products and services that the brand provides.

Millennials seek more than just products — they demand authenticity and gravitate toward brands with whom their values align. This means that marketers must lead with their core mission and values, and make them known. Millennials are well aware of their purchasing power. It’s no coincidence that their rise runs parallel to the growing pressure on corporations to take a stand on issues like environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, and commitments to sustainability.

83% of Millennials say they are loyal to some brands and willing to pay more to shop with them. 

More than any other age generation we surveyed, Millennials are overwhelmingly likely to pay more to do business with their favorite brands. Millennials place importance on authentic messaging and seek out brands that support social and environmental causes that align with their values. And while prices are still one of the top factors, Millennials place a higher value on being known as an individual and will spend money with brands that deliver a personalized experience. The full Millennial Trends report highlights seven specific factors that Gen Y cite as important or critically important to maintaining their lasting loyalty. 

67% of Millennials are more likely to participate in a loyalty program this year compared to last.

Millennials love loyalty programs. These programs not only deliver perks and benefits, but they foster an emotional connection between the brand and the customer. Loyalty programs are crucial to rewarding repeat customers, thereby driving sales and increasing customer lifetime value.

Given that Millennials are willing to pay more to shop with their favored brands, maintaining the “favored” status is vital. Loyalty programs are one of the most cost-efficient ways to retain customers and build brand advocacy. 43% of Millennials in our study switched away from or became less loyal to a previously favored brand. But a surprising 83% of Millennials who have changed away or become less loyal say they can be won back.


Millennials have upended the game for marketers. They are more educated and more technologically advanced than any generation before them. As their earning power increases, so too will their impact and influence. Learn more about what makes a Millennial one of your most loyal brand advocates by downloading our U.S. Millennial Consumer Trends Index 2023.


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