The millennial shopping patterns are becoming increasingly important for companies to understand and capitalize on as millennials become more and more dominant consumers. According to an Airbnb citizen article, “Millennials are the largest generation in history, and by 2025, millennials and younger generations will account for 75% of all consumers and travelers.” This projected proportion shows the imminent millennial take over of the market economy and how necessary it is for companies to pivot to Millennial trends. As we learned in class presentations last week, @sydneywalker511 touched on the millennial shopping trends and the emphasis on experience and quality over material goods and brand name. Millennials are shifting the market in a unprecedented way, and companies are scrambling to accommodate their new demographic segment for fear of falling behind.
Born out of a novel idea by millennials themselves, A company that I believe has done an impeccable job with capitalizing on the millennial market based on the millennial values and trends we have seen come to fruition over the course of the past few years is Airbnb. We all know the genesis of Airbnb from past assignments and pop-culture, but Airbnb’s success should be spoken of in relation to their practically perfect encapsulation of millennial virtues. Airbnb’s business model was either very lucky or very strategic (or both!) as it reflects the values of consumers today. Airbnb capitalizes on the emerging trend of a sharing economy that is utilized by many, especially millennials. In addition to the propensity to participate in a sharing economy, millennials care incredibly about traveling, specially in china, to the extent that paying off debt or long-term investments fall short according to a 2016 Airbnb report:
While this statistic could be seen as disheartening to the financially responsible, millennials with these values would argue that experiential learning through travel is one of the most important things you can do as a young adult; they state that “travel is an important part of who I am as a person.”
With the emphasis of travel importance, Airbnb presents the perfect platform of providing all types of travel and experiences for the millennial budget, which shows itself in the statistic that roughly 60% of all of Airbnb’s customers fall into the millennial demographic. In addition, the number of millennials that book on Airbnb has grown over 120% in the past year.
This Airbnb gif is a great representation of the huge influx of consumers that Airbnb has been able to capture. With a constant Airbnb’s introduction of “Airbnb Experience” shows their keen awareness of both their niche and their consumer’s values. Airbnb has become not only a replacement for a hotel room but also a concierge, as they provide a platform for their consumers to take full advantage of the fact they are staying in rooms provided by locals who understand the community and culture they are trying to learn of. Introduced in 2014, Experiences enhanced the Airbnb network as it is no longer a simple two-sided network, but a multi-service provider and connector of people. Although Experiences has been around for a few years, it is still being talked about as its adoption and use is increasing. Earlier this year, Forbes posted an article 13 Airbnb Experiences Changing The Way You Explore A City. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/breannawilson/2017/04/26/hiking-with-wolves-to-writing-tv-these-airbnb-experiences-are-changing-the-way-you-explore-a-city/#7c94710514fd). The list of experiences ranges from visiting breweries to hiking with wolves, Airbnb’s revolutionary way of providing crazy new experiences is still the topic of much conversation, suggesting a consistent prevalence of Airbnb experiences. Even on the Airbnb Website, the word “experience” stands out as a key buzzword that Airbnb uses. From marketing Airbnb as a way to experience the city like a local, to emphasizing the opportunity for investing in experiences as the first option on the website, Airbnb knows its niche and how to target to the millennial value of experience.
On my Airbnb account, very unique experience pop up as recommended for me, from bike riding to meeting a funny museum guy, Airbnb provides a myriad of different experiences targeted towards its consumers’ preferences. Millennial consumer preferences are perfectly catered to with this business model of participating in a sharing economy, providing experience, and valuing authenticity. As more and more companies target the growing millennial consumer base, it will be incredibly interesting to see what values they cater to and how their business model works to reflect such values. As I see it, Airbnb is a great company to model off.