Millennials are becoming the largest demographic and are the largest generation employed in the U.S. workforce and their clout and spending power will only increase until the middle of the century. Over the past five years, they have made up the largest percentage of those applying for home mortgages, making up 36 percent of the market in 2018 National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. That means many Millennials are building relationships with utility providers.
Millennials are concerned with environmental sustainability and affordability while being extraordinarily social media and tech savvy – 80 percent of Millennials are on Twitter and 91 percent have a Facebook profile. How can utility companies improve Millennials’ customer satisfaction – and boost their return on equity? By abiding by the three “Cs” in dealing with Millennials: clean, cheap and convenient.
Millennials have been a driving force behind shifting to clean energy sources, with 56 percent saying that utilizing clean energy sources is important, while 86 percent think the government should establish a plan for energy strategy. Socially conscious Millennials spend their money with companies whose values align with their own, and Millennials have been dubbed Green Champions, those concerned with environmentalism.
An Accenture energy consumer survey shows that 56 percent of Millennials want to incorporate solar panels into their energy sources. Additionally, more than 60 percent are willing to pay for a smart grid to easily integrate clean energy sources into the grid, with 30 percent of the opinion that a smart grid’s biggest selling point is the environmental benefits.
Millennials reached adulthood during the Great Recession or shortly thereafter, so their spending habits often are more in tune with Silent Generation – who grew up during the Great Depression. Add to that outsized student debt and stagnant wages that have only recently begun to climb, and many Millennials spent their young adulthoods pinching pennies.
It isn’t surprising to learn that 84 percent of Millennials are confident in their ability to manage their finances – or that they frequently use technology to do so. Millennials also are savers – when they can be – one in six has saved more than $100,000. Those who are able to do so begin to save earlier and with more discipline than older generations.
However, Millennials’ earnings are low in comparison to earlier generations at the same point in their careers – half of what their parents were making at the same point in their careers. Because of the bleak economic picture when many Millennials entered the workforce, nearly 70 percent have nothing saved for retirement. It’s no wonder they look for savings in every aspect of their lives, including energy consumption.
Despite their thriftiness, Millennials are interested in energy-saving, web-based technologies, and 50 percent of them are willing to pay for real-time information. Demand among Millennials for such technology is high, with 61 percent likely to sign up for an app that remotely monitors their energy usage and control home elements by 2021.
Millennials expect a seamless experience across all channels; four-fifths would consider changing providers if not provided one. They interact most frequently with providers using social media, with 41 percent have expressed the desire to log onto their provider’s portal using their social media credentials, and they are twice as likely to use digital channels to contact their utility provider.
This is important, because digitally engaged customers are more likely – by 10 percentage points – to trust their energy providers. In fact, more than 70 percent of digitally engaged customers trust their provider to share their information with third parties. This allows for packaging, or offering multiple products in one place. Utilities have increasingly begun to partner with other businesses to offer expanded services to their customers, serving as a portal for a range of services.
One of those services is a home warranty, which provides speedy and reliable home repair from licensed and insured local contractors for a low monthly cost. HomeServe USA provides service line and interior electric coverage – contact us to learn how you can engage your customers with this value-added service.