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July 13, 2016
Millennials: Are you ready for the new faces of energy consumers?
By: Michael Dary

Who better to answer this question than a millennial!

As a group, we are receiving a lot of hype lately—mostly due to our size—we are getting more influential and our spending power is growing, we are also happily upsetting traditional approaches to customer engagement.

So here’s the story: millennials are masters of personal relevance and self-expression, with 75 percent creating a profile on a social networking site. We’re quick to embrace personal branding as a means of identifying our passions and influencing our own paths forward. And we value services that support information sharing or the ability to benefit collectively. We like the idea of “me” but like to work it out through the “we.”

Above all (this is the catchy bit), we seek experiences not products and services. And therefore we have high standards and expectations around the context of the things we consume. After all, we are a generation that is coming of age during a renaissance of simpler means such as home sharing, urban bee keeping, handcrafted bicycles, local food movements and car co-ops. Yet the experiences that underpin this culture are so much more complex and deeper than ever before.

So what do our distinct needs, values and preferences mean for energy providers? Accenture tackled that question through our latest New Energy Consumer research.

Well, we are powering a new era. We found that when it comes to how millennials view and engage with their energy provider, we can’t look to the past. We, as consumers, are simply not following the lead of earlier generations. In fact, our findings point to new ways to engage new energy millennials:

  • 82 percent would be more satisfied if offered an in-home system that automatically limits electricity usage at peak periods.
  • 79 percent would be more satisfied if offered an in-home device providing energy usage feedback and suggesting customized products and services.
  • 61 percent would sign up for an app that can remotely monitor and control home elements.

So, are we demanding—or just self-aware? Findings such as these suggest that we are THE consumer group that is looking for more from our energy experience. But we’re looking for energy providers to deliver a high level of personalization. And as digital natives, we have liquid expectations.

Also, seamless experiences are key: Fully 79 percent told us they’d be more likely to consider switching if their energy provider could not provide them with a seamless experience. And 83 percent said without such an experience, they’d be more likely to be discouraged to sign up for additional products and services.

In light of the findings, it may be tempting to accuse us of being too demanding. But most millennials would likely say, “Not so—we just know what we want and crave meaningful moments.” For energy providers, understanding what millennials want—and then delivering against those expectations—represents a central challenge and opportunity in the new energy ecosystem.

I believe that energy providers that will thrive in the future have already placed people, and specifically millennials, at the heart of their customer strategy and organizational model.

For more details, explore The New Energy Consumer: Thriving in the Energy Ecosystem, and stay tuned for more insights on the latest challenges and opportunities for energy retailers.

Video: Millennials as the new generation of energy consumers

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