Are Millennials Within Your Email Reach? Definitely.

They’re now in their late teens to mid-thirties. There are more than 75 million of them in the United States – making them, according to the U.S Census, the largest living generation of Americans. They have an estimated annual buying power of more than $200 billion.

They are, of course, the Millennials (aka Generation Y).

So, the $200 billion question for today is: can your email marketing successfully engage them?

Three factors allow us to answer that question with a confident “yes”:

  • Recent research indicates continuing reliance on email by young people
  • Email is now ubiquitous on mobile devices
  • Email has evolved beyond static content delivery to a live data experience, which can help neutralize this generation’s distrust of traditional advertising and marketing techniques.

Young users want email from businesses (and check mail constantly)

A recent study of 1200 U.S. consumers has good news for brands that rely on email marketing to reach young people. It found that nearly 68 percent of the teens and 73 percent of twenty-somethings they surveyed prefer communications from businesses to come via email.

The survey determined that younger consumers are willing to opt-in for brand messages, primarily for promotions and product information and that 47 percent of teens sign up “just because they love the brand.”

And nearly half of these young respondents said they check their email first thing in the morning—before even getting of bed (unlike Baby Boomers, who generally wait for their coffee to finish brewing before diving into their messages). Additionally, more than 80 percent of 14- to 34-year-olds surveyed check their email “at random, all day long.”

Email – and young people – have gone mobile

We’ve been chronicling the growth of mobile opens on this blog for some time. In a recent post, we reported that an average of 66% of emails across seven industries were opened on mobile devices.

In fact, for a growing number of young people, their mobile device’s screen is their only screen. ComScore reports that one-fifth of Millennials don’t use a desktop PC at all—but 97 percent are mobile users, whether they use their mobile devices exclusively or consider themselves multi-platform users.

“We’re approaching the tipping point in mobile commerce and Gen Z and Millennials are leading this shift,” says Marie Homne, Yesmail senior marketing strategist, citing research that shows half of consumers who receive marketing emails open these emails exclusively on a mobile device. “Due to its immediacy on smartphones, email is an effective technique in reaching Millennials because we all know they have it with them constantly.”

And the Harvard Business Review (in an article with a headline that gets right to the point: “Email is the Best Way to Reach Millennials”) says: “If you’re not mobile first, you’re not putting your Millennial customers first. Responsive design has been a mantra for some time, but if you’re not employing it, you’re alienating an important generation of consumers who live, breathe, and sleep with their mobile devices.”

Email is evolving to better serve Millennials

A third reason to be optimistic regarding using email to communicate with Millennials and their younger counterparts is the changing nature of the medium itself.

“Millennials want more,” says Daniel Newman of Forbes. “They want it now. They want it newer. And they want it faster than ever before. They consume and share content like crazy – but it has to be good – innovative, and cutting edge traditional marketing will no longer cut it. In an age where information is shared instantaneously, the Millennial generation is incredibly adept at filtering out everything except what they want.”

By moving email beyond static delivery and into live content, personalization and contextual user experiences, we can give Millennials exactly what they want, when they want it.