Verizon Report Says Millennials Spend $1.3 Trillion a Year

Millennials are the largest U.S. demographic, watch three times more online TV and command $1.3 trillion in spending. Tap that, says a Verizon report.  

If you're not actively courting Millennials, you're part of a group leaving a $20 billion revenue opportunity on the table, due to poor quality-of-service issues alone, Verizon said in its March 2014 "Millennials & Entertainment" report. Millennials account for 21 percent of consumer spending—that's $1.3 trillion—so aligning your digital strategy with their habits, needs, wants and desires, said the report, "is essential."

What Millennials Want

The Verizon report looks to dispel fictions about current 16- to 34-year olds, and relied on a combination of online surveys and in-home visits. Verizon found that Millennials want "recency, quality and speed." Forty-four percent want access to current shows, 41 percent value a high-quality viewing experience, with minimal interference, and 37 percent want fewer steps between selecting content and viewing it."

They also pursue features that improve their media experiences: 40 percent said they want access to live TV online and that they want ultra-high definition videos, while 25 percent want to be able to shift their viewing session between devices.

If the experience isn't good, they'll ditch. (If the video freezes occasionally, 44 percent said they won't watch.)

What Millennials Are Doing

Millennials "are loyal to brands that are aligned with their own morals and values," said the report, and the effects of "their choices are amplified by their use of multiple screens and social media."

Seventy-five percent post to Facebook, 73 percent shop online, 49 percent Tweet and 43 percent read ebooks.

Their favorite brands are Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Walmart, Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, McDonald's and Samsung, respectively. They watch more TV online than on a television, and Verizon expects this habit to change the TV industry. (None of the major broadcast networks made Millennials' top 10 brands list, though all four appear in the top 10 of non-Millennials' list.

While a TV is playing, Millennials have other devices in use, though their second screens are unrelated to what's on the TV, said Verizon. This group also likes to binge watch, and Verizon warns media companies that they need to be prepared to support marathon viewing.

Far more than their counterparts, who more often browse to find something they want to watch, when Millennials watch TV, they search for something specific.