Millennials in MENA make up over a quarter of the region’s population, and their impact is being strongly felt. Based on a survey of over 5,600 millennials across 8 key countries in the region, conducted by Ipsos in MENA, in addition to hundreds of qualitative digital immersions, it is clear that this is a generation keen on change, and is willing to challenge the status-quo. While millennials do value their traditions (58%), the majority are not afraid to express opinions that go against societal norm.
This openness to change is in part driven by unprecedented levels of connectivity, as the Ipsos report, entitled ‘MENA’s Millennials Decoded’ finds. MENA’s Millennials are a generation that lives online, the majority considering it to be their primary source of information. Not content with being passive onlookers, they are heavy content contributors and hyper-sharers, with 8 in 10 sharing content at least once a week, and while social networking is a key part of their online presence, the majority are also interacting with brands and businesses online (74%) at levels significantly higher than previous generations did.
Where the region’s millennials will push the digital envelop most is the extent to which they are integrating technology into their day to day lives. 4 in 10 are now choosing to shop online, 43% order food online, 40% use ride-hailing apps, and 1 in 3 use exercise or physical activity apps. These trends show no signs of slowing, and many are hungry for more, with 56% continuously looking for new ways to integrate new technologies into their daily lives.
However, despite their disruptive nature, millennials are also an anxious generation with a lot on their minds. Only 6 in 10 feel optimistic about their generation’s future in their countries and their skepticism is the result of increasing financial pressures. Millennials believe that it was much easier for older generations to generate income and secure their livelihoods. Not only that, 41% feel overwhelmed by financial burdens, and 1 in 7 millennials is in debt. However, this is a generation of unparalleled ambition and the vast majority have high aspirations when it comes to their careers and professional advancement, with many placing importance on owning their own businesses in the future.
“We must recognize that while this is an extremely important segment, it is also poorer than previous generations, and in the MENA region specifically, is facing high unemployment levels”, said Mohammed Minawi, Chief Client Officer at Ipsos in MENA. “However, these same challenges are playing a key role in shaping a new type of consumer, one that keeps itself informed, is more price sensitive, but also more conscious and socially responsible compared to previous generations. They are also less forgiving consumers who will not tolerate bad experiences with brands.”