As long as humans have been on this world, they have experienced stress: The stress of larger, predatory mammals picking them off for a meal; The stress of how to stay cool or build a fire for warmth; The stress of providing for one’s family; And largely these days, the stress of the job.
Based on recent purchase habits and innovations, it would seem that today’s core class of working human – Millennials – are showing more awareness of their stress and are looking to manage that stress. In particular, younger Millennials who are still working toward financial stability are recognizing and combatting their stress more overtly. The manifestations of this stress management are rampant.
Let me be clear that I am not stating that Millennials are more stressed that other generations (and arguably do not have the right to be). Millennials are, however, seemingly more aware of their stress. They feel it, they talk about it, they seek out advice and cures.
Perhaps one of the more radical manifestations of the stressed-out generation fighting back can be seen in NYC, where new legislation has been introduced, by a Millennial-aged Council member, to outlaw work emails during employee’s time off, like weekends.
Another example of a service rising to meet the demands of a relief-seeking audience are nap cafes. Nap Cafes have made footholds in other countries around the world but have not found solid footing in the US—until recently. Those of us working in Manhattan can now experience a restful experience – lounging peacefully and quietly among plants and soothing projections – at NYC’s first nap and wellness club.
“It seems that millennials are the most stressed-out generation…And yet, this is also a generation that is more heavily focused on healthy living than previous generations.”
The nap cafes are only the most recent, tangible example of Millennials trying to take control of their stress and wellness by looking to apps and product & service brands to help them. Restriction apps, like Offtime, help Millennials forcibly take time away from their devices in order to be present and may impact typical usage of the internet, social media, and gaming. Other apps, such as Calm, are being heavily advertised on MTV to help users reduce anxiety and sleep better. Gadgets and gizmos track health, scent diffusors abound, and there is even a meditative flute one can wear around the neck—seriously, Google it.
At the same time, Millennials often seek comfort from stressful periods by binging TV and surfing the internet for hours. Thus, media is already seen as a service that aids release, or at least distraction, from life’s hardships. Magid’s 2017 Video Entertainment Study found platform viewing momentum was highest for Millennials compared to Xers and Boomers, and was on the rise for all three categories.
All this considered, it could benefit many brands’ innovation strategy, from gaming to content and beyond, to look at getting on the relaxation train—the sleeper car, of course.
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