LAS VEGAS — Tire dealerships and auto repair shops that are reluctant to adopt the latest technology and social media soon will be forced into it by their growing population of Millennial customers and employees.
The Millennial generation, considered to be those ages 19-35, now outnumber Baby Boomers (ages 52-70) and Generation X ( ages 36-51) in the workplace.
They also are a growing force in the consumer population, according to Ryan Jenkins, a researcher, columnist and blogger who specializes in helping businesses hire and market to Millennials.
Last year was the first year Millennials outnumbered Baby Boomers and GenX in the workplace, representing 35 percent of the workforce vs. GenX at 33 percent and Baby Boomers at 29 percent, he said.
Millennials also are the largest generation in the U.S. and globally. And for the first time, there are five generations in the marketplace and workplace because people are working and living longer, Mr. Jenkins said. In the future, there may be even more generations working together.
"So the tension that you and I experience leading, communicating, selling across generations will only intensify moving forward," he told attendees at the Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo in Las Vegas last November.
Each generation takes a different approach to buying products and services, he noted.
"One of the best ways to build a bridge across generations and to alleviate some of the friction that happens when you are trying to sell across generations, is to have a better understanding of that generation," Mr. Jenkins said.
Millennials who grew up with the Internet, social media and mobile devices, for example, expect to communicate and buy through these media.
He said there are three keys to marketing to the younger generation: Know and understand the needs and demands of the Millennial generation; provide proof of the quality of the product or service; and engage in swift communication across digital platforms.