Asian Millennials (aka Generation Y) have a fundamentally different view of their lifestyle and careers, compared with previous generations. They are the next key Asia market driver.

US consultancy McKinsey & Co has identified five Asian Millennial segments. The younger segments – the 'idealists' (19%) and 'want-it-alls' (13%) – are more likely to be motivated by factors such as meaningful work, whereas older segments – the 'money seekers' (18%), the 'family-focused' (18%) and the 'breadwinners' (32%) – tend to place greater value on more practical financial and lifestyle factors, including compensation and work-life balance.

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Research by multinational financial services corporation MasterCard revealed that by 2020, 60% of the world’s Millennials will live in Asia, with an expected $200bn in disposable income. As Millennials perceive themselves to have less disposable income than any other age group, they save more and are cautious spenders, searching out bargains and seeking value for money. Of all generations, they are the most likely to do their research by looking for brand connections, ‘word of mouth’ recommendations and reviews online from social media influencers before purchasing an item, with electronic gadgets and travel being their top two purchases. With increasing property prices, they feel that property ownership is out of their reach and prioritise their spending on experiences, such as travel.

Even in the workplace, Asian Millennial employees will soon dominate and shape the workforce. Already, 44% hold management positions. By 2025, three out of four workers globally will be Millennials. Millennials are often highly ambitious and impatient for accelerated career advancements, where career progression is the single most important factor for selecting a job. Being job hoppers, they exhibit a higher turnover rate and shorter employment duration, averaging three years on a job, since they value employability over employment or loyalty to companies or industry. Only 54% of Asian Millennials are satisfied with prospects for progress in their respective companies. Their next goal after their employee experience is to become entrepreneurs, with seven out of 10 global Millennials wanting to work for themselves.

As these Asian Millennials evolve from phase to phase, a uniform, standardised approach clearly spells disaster for businesses leading and serving them. Identifying the target Asian Millennial segment is critical, then researching, formulating and executing a Millennial segment strategy is next. It is a major challenge. Amid the converging technology products with different social media platforms, how will businesses serve these evolving, diverging Asian millennial segments? I am glad to witness this new wave as I turn fabulous 50 next year!

Lawrence Yeo is CEO of AsiaBIZ Strategy, a Singapore-based consultancy that provides Asia market research and investment/trade promotion services. Email: lawrence@asiabizstrategy.com