As the largest generation to date, millennials have the potential to redefine, and dictate current market trends.

As such, they’re the talk of the web as various sources aim to explain who they are, exactly. From tech savvy to lazy, conflicting adjectives jostle together in an attempt to solve this cultural enigma.

Commonly queried to Google (the modern day oracle), the general public seems keen to discover, “what is a millennial?”

Presumably, business leaders should also practice their sleuthing skills in cracking the mystery of this societal construct. Considering this demographic is the biggest in history, surely their numbers directly impact respective economies.

Here’s our endeavour to add insight to the riddle, and shine a revealing light onto millennial attributes.

Unconventional Markers of Maturity

According to a 2017 report by Positive Luxury, millennials fall between the ages of 17-34 years old.

While they aspire to traditional standards of maturity such as marriage and home ownership, these objectives don’t hold any immediacy.

Rather, they’re put off until a later point in life until they acquire financial stability. In fact, one in four American millennials have student loan debts over $30,000 (roughly £25,000).

What is a millennial - Compelo

Natives to the Digital World

Apart from Generation Y, another popular moniker for millennials is Digital Natives.

This demographic’s grasp of technology is fluid, and the majority of them depend on smart devices in their daily lives.

Compared to their generational predecessors, this cohort utilises these devices for information and entertainment purposes. Most millennials also demonstrate a preference for streaming content, as opposed to viewing it via TV.

Furthermore, millennials prefer to be wirelessly connected to the Internet while out and about.

What is a millennial - Compelo

Mercurial and Open to Change

The economic uncertainty created by the Great Recession of 2008 had great and lasting influences for everyone. However, it hit millennials especially hard.

Many of this generation were embarking on their first steps into adulthood by 2008. The economic turmoil of that time forced them to move in with parents, take out student loans, and push back life goals.

As such, it comes as no surprise that this generation is open to, and embraces change.

In fact, unpredictability and flexibility characterise this group. Their ability to navigate the Internet with ease, find bargains, and keen interest in travel make them changeable and mercurial.

What is a millennial - Compelo

Corporate and Government Responsibility

In light of the economic and political uncertainty of the millennial era, up to 58% believe that governments should be more responsible in regards to civic duties.

Millennials also desire for transparency from corporations. Of this group, 42% cite that social problems should be dealt with by businesses and individuals.

A significant point derived from this data depicts millennials as an inclusive demographic that aims for social, corporate, and governmental accountability.

What is a millennial - Compelo

Self-Expression Is a Badge of Honour

Oftentimes accused of being narcissistic, the prevalence of selfies and online profiles demonstrates that millennials are well-versed in self-expression. This trait is  linked to the ease that they wield smart devices, and their expert degree of digital fluency.

Furthermore, the most inked-up generation so far are millennials.

Pew Research Center’s study on this group cites that almost 40% of them have at least one tattoo, a statistic that leaves Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation trailing behind.

What is a millennial - Compelo

So, What Is a Millennial?

Lastly, regardless of the fact that their numbers outrank those of other generations, just 40% of individuals ages 18-34 identify themselves as millennials.

Whether or not the ‘M’ word is a trending term bandied around the Internet, the potential spending power and technological insight of this group will continue to both intrigue and perplex.