Millennials back in focus

10 Nov 2017

For the past several months the spending habits and potential of Millennials had ceased to be a significant topic. They are now back into focus again with a perspective that our industry should take to heart. This new aspect is Millennials lack of some necessary but specific skills and accompanying technical knowledge.

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal summed it up. The headline reads ‘America’s Retailers Have a New Target Customer: The 26-Year-Old Millennial - This age bracket, bigger than any other, is pushing companies to revamp marketing and products, including a lot of remedial education’. The author, Ellen Byron, quotes well-known companies that ‘are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color’.

This same sentiment is echoed in an article for BoatUS Magazine by the Millennial freelance writer, Fiona McGlynn, formerly a management consultant with Bain & Co. Fiona is now the joint publisher with her husband of the YoungandSalty.com website, a sailing community by and for young sailors. In the article entitled ‘Why Aren’t Millennials Buying Boats,’ she gives three primary reasons one of which is labeled ‘Getting Greasy and Sailing Anxiety’. She points out that: “Most 20-to 40-somethings didn't grow up with a torque wrench in one hand and a soldering gun in the other. While our parents' generation spent their teens rebuilding old cars, we spent our time building websites. The initial learning curve when getting into boat ownership can be overwhelming for anyone, but more so for a generation without foundational skills in mechanics and building.”

Our industry would do well to take note.