Conventional wisdom might suggest there’s no need for energy providers to rush to embrace millennials as a priority demographic. After all, many of them live with their parents who largely pay for the new products and services their household adopts.
However, energy utilities need to take action now to capitalize on millennials who are already flying the nest and becoming energy customers.
In the United States alone, there are about 80 million millennials, spending some $600 billion every year, and this is only set to increase. Millennials will truly come into their own by 2020, when our projections suggest their spending in the U.S. will reach $1.4 trillion annually, representing 30 percent of total retail sales.[i]
It’s apparent, then, that this group is swiftly becoming the largest and most influential U.S. demographic group. For energy providers, ignoring them just as they become energy consumers could mean losing this group to an increasingly complex set of new competitors and market entrants, eagerly waiting in the wings.
Indeed, our recent research showed that these consumers will drive the most future value for energy utilities.
For a start, millennials want to adopt new energy-related products and services, like applications to remotely monitor and control home elements for example, but, not only that, they want to be the first to do so. We found 24 percent were classified as early adopters, significantly more than for other age groups.
Millennials, it seems, also have a strong interest in solar, which is in line with their generation’s focus on the green agenda. More than half of them are likely to sign up for solar panels in the next five years, double the proportion of baby boomers. Low-carbon energy-sources like solar power are clearly very popular among this generation, and energy providers will need to take note of these preferences.