If you were doing a survey on healthy food habits in America would you stand outside of McDonald’s and recruit? That’s kind of what the Pew Research Center did with the sample for its 2010 survey of Millennials (late teens and twentysomethings). Check it out:
Results for the January 2010 Millennial Survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Abt SRBI Inc. among a national sample of 2,020 adults living in the continental United States, 18 years of age and older, from Jan. 14 to 27, 2010 (851 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,169 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 538 who had no landline telephone).
Granted, the study polled more than just Millennials since it needed the other generations for comparison purposes but a study about Millennials with half the respondents polled over a land line seems a little silly. Ask any Millennial on the street when the last time they answered a land line or if even if they know what a land line is and watch their expression.
That caveat out of the way, I’m going to admit to not having read the whole report. It’s 149 pages and I shoveling snow this morning, but I did want to comment on a telling question about Millennials. For the important open-ended question “Can you tell me some ways you think your generation is unique or distinct?” Millennials had the highest measure of any in the study with a 24% answering “Technology use.” The next highest measure in the study was Baby Boomers with 17% of respondents saying “work ethic/hardworking/motivated” and Boomers again with 14% for “respect.” For Boomers that hippie ethos is still in tact. (Thanks Jimi, thanks Owsley.) Back to Millennials, the second highest measure upon which Millennials agree as making their generation unique is “music.”
This leads me to believe Millennials define themselves by their environment not their values. One could interpret the technology score as a means of communication (a value), but I’m not so sure. My prediction yesterday that Millennials are the be-all of marketing research was, therefore, questionable. I’ll stand by my point about using them to understand “usability,” but will move off point on studying them for subjects of conscience. That said, remember the sampling caveat. Peace!