What do Millennials like? That’s the 43 million hits question — as in Google hits. And that’s a pretty good indication of just how focused businesses are on this generation and its rising economic power.
The U.S. Postal Service is no different. It wants to understand how Millennials might use the mail in coming decades to better serve them and remain relevant as this generation moves into its financial prime. Important to understand, no doubt, as the trend among Millennials mirrors the overall downward trend in mail volumes over the past two decades. Among adults aged 18 to 34, which is the age we define as Millennials in our new white paper, the amount of mail they received per week fell from 17 mailpieces in fiscal year (FY) 2001 to 10 pieces in FY 2017.
We conducted qualitative and quantitative research to gain a comprehensive view of how Millennials engage with the Postal Service. We found that while Millennials and older generations might use mail differently, their satisfaction with the Postal Service is similar (about 80 percent are either somewhat or very satisfied with USPS).
Millennials, however, indicated their preference for convenience and customization when we asked how their postal experience might be improved. This is where USPS should focus its attention. Millennials prefer convenient postal interactions, such as self-service options, and receiving advanced notice of mail and parcel deliveries. The good news is that these preferences intersect with existing postal products or services, such as Self-Service Kiosks, Informed Delivery, and Package Pickup. We encouraged further efforts to improve awareness of these offerings.
Millennials suggested a variety of ways to customize postal products — from unique stamps and colorful packaging material to embedding personalized messages into packages via augmented reality. Millennials also said a loyalty rewards program might inspire them to send more mail or choose USPS for shipping.
Finally, we identified Millennials’ living arrangements as an area of future research that might prove fruitful as it seems an important predictor of postal interactions. More of today’s young adults live with their parents than with a partner or spouse, which was not the case for prior generations. Yet they likely have different purchasing behaviors than someone roughly the same age who is married with kids. This type of information could shape USPS’s product development and marketing strategies to Millennials.
Are you a Millennial? How do you use the mail? What product enhancements or new services would you like to see?