Busting the millennial myth: 38 million Transformists are reshaping how we work, live and spend

New York, NY

New research from Insider Inc. and Digitas reveals cross-generational cohort of change-makers

Today’s most powerful influencers are not Millennials, according to a survey by Insider Inc. and Digitas of more than 1,600 U.S. adults ages 18 to 54. Defying demographics, they cut across ages and backgrounds—and are united by a proactive, ambitious, change-for-the-better mindset.

Called Transformists, these consumers are digitally-savvy, adept at using technology to navigate and succeed in the world around them. Curious and connected, they gather information from many sources—and use that information to shape their decision-making.

Transformists live by their values and are driven by high expectations—both for themselves and for the people and brands around them. Brands that understand and speak to these Transformists can benefit strongly from their loyalty—and turn them into their most powerful advocates.

Defying demographic labels

  • There are 38 million Transformists in the U.S., representing 24% of the age 18 – 54 population.
  • 2/3 of Transformists are Millennials—but only 1/3 of all Millennials are Transformists.
  • 22% of Transformists are African American, 47% have a college degree or higher, and 62% work full time.

Ambitious action-takers

  • Transformists are2x more likely than the general population to act on the content they consume—sharing it, factoring it into their decision making, and applying it to their everyday life.

Information seekers and eager learners

  • Transformists gather information from 2x more sources than their gen pop peers.
  • On a weekly basis, 85% of Transformists seek information on local news, entertainment, current events, national news, and food and cooking.
    • 65% seek business/finance content (1.6x times more likely than the general population to seek this information).
    • They are 62% more likely to get information from mobile apps, and 33% more likely to get information from social media.

Actively engaged on social media 

  • 72% use Instagram (vs. 44% of their gen pop peers)
  • 45% like something daily from a news outlet, and 39% share news stories
  • 39% share brand posts daily and 37% comment on brand posts
  • 59% post online reviews

Curious and open to taking risks

  • 97% say they like trying new and different experiences, vs 81% of the general population
  • 87% say they like to get off the beaten path when they travel
  • 86% say they are adventurous eaters
  • 77% say they like to learn new languages
  • 81% they like taking risks in life, vs 60% of the general population
    • 67% self-identify as “adrenaline junkies”

Seeking to get ahead and do better

-        85% see their career as one of the most important things in their life

-        60% strongly agree “I am always striving to advance my career”, vs 29% gen pop

-        48% strongly agree a professional goal is “to own my own business”, vs 24% gen pop

Demanding of brands as well as themselves

  • 95% expect companies to conduct business in an ethical manner
  • 61% are more likely to buy a product if part of proceeds go to a cause they care about
  • 54% say they’ll pay more if a product is made by a company they trust
  • 90% stick with a brand once they find one they like 

What does this mean for marketers? Here are 5 tips to find—and win—Transformists’ loyalty.

  1. Look beyond Millennials. For too long, marketers have been fishing in the same Millennial hot spots—but the swath of Transformists goes well past age 30. Marketers should also speak to Transformist consumers in their 30s, 40s and 50s who share the same go-getter mindset as their younger peers.
  2. Don’t hide your values. Transformists don’t want or need everything to be politicized—but they value knowing what a brand stands for, what its purpose is, and how it’s working to affect change. Brands should speak authentically and openly about their mission and how they are trying to make a difference beyond their organization.
  3. Get newsy. Transformists are unabashed information-seekers. Brands should choose media platforms for advertising and content that Transformists gravitate towards, and consider engaging them with information that acts as a learning experience and satisfies their curiosity, rather than relying on marketing platitudes.
  4. Appeal to their ambition and adventure. Transformists are self-avowed adventure seekers and go-getters. Brands should find ways for Transformists to seek out new experiences that drive personal growth.
  5. Encourage word of mouth. Transformists arewell-versed in issues and products, and well-connected in their communities. Brands can gain their loyalty by encouraging feedback and providing a platform to share informed and respected opinions.

In the digital era, sorting people by age misses the boat entirely. Many of the more ambitious ones who grew up in the digital age share in common distinct likes, dislikes and ways of behaving that cross generational lines. The key is to understand that this group – transformists – are uniquely savvy and demanding when it comes to seeking information and acting on it.” – Jenifer Berman, SVP of Marketing at Insider Inc.

Transformists live by their values and are driven by high expectations—both for themselves and for the people and brands around them. Brands that understand and connect with these Transformists can benefit from their loyalty—and turn them into powerful advocates.”—Jonathan Tatlow, EVP, Head of Strategy, Digitas

Like what you see?

Have questions? Thoughts? Requests?


Like what you see?

Have questions? Thoughts? Requests?


Make a Connection