The Millennial Mindset

December 2018 | Volume 17 | Issue 12 | Editorials | 1340 | Copyright © December 2018

Noëlle S. Sherber MD FAAD

SHERBER+RAD, Washington, DC The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Dermatology, Washington, DC

The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Millennial generation as those born between 1982 and 2000, placing the upper age range at 36 years old. The largest generation in US history, outnumbering Baby Boomers and representing more than one-quarter of the US population, they are poised to reshape the economy. They are outspending Baby Boomers 2 to 1 on self-care, and the ASDS 2016 annual survey reported that, in the prior year, patients under 30 saw 20% growth in neuromodulators and 100% growth in injectable filler procedures. As such, they represent a significant segment of the dermatology patient base and understanding how best to communicate with the individuals who comprise this singular collective is key to delivering the best quality and experience of care in a medical or aesthetic practice. A search of yields no studies relating to the behaviors of millennial patients, and since many of the understandings of the millennial mindset have been developed in the finance, tech, retail, and wellness arenas, we can draw on these insights to enhance connection with the next generation of patients. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(12):1340-1342.


Millennial Market Share

Whereas dermatologists have always cared for patients in their teens, twenties, and thirties, the millennials are a specific generation born between 1982 and 2000. Millennials, as the largest generation in US history, are powerfully shaping the economy with many current estimates centering on Millennials’ spending growing to $1.2 trillion by 2020. The largest generation is also on its way to becoming our largest patient base. Millennials are proving to be interested and engaged in the realm of dermatology, with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery’s 2016 annual survey reporting that in the prior year patients under 30 saw 20% growth in neuromodulator procedures and 100% growth in injectable filler procedures.¹ Men are a large and fast growing segment of the dermatology patient base and, in 2017, the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery surveyed men about their interest in aesthetic treatments; of the 31% who responded “extremely likely” to pursue treatment, 58% were between 25-34 years old and 34% were 18-24 years old, making 92% of these respondents in the Millennial age range.² With our patient base changing, practices should evolve to meet the changing patient needs as relates to information gathering and clinical engagement or risk having outmoded approaches that aren’t sufficiently adapted to the newer generational ideologies.

Developing Trust

Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research “Millennials: Coming of Age” report cites that brand name is not the deciding factor for the majority of Millennial purchases.³ Rather, this generation is described as “digital natives”; they are the first generation to grow up with internet and social media.4 This translates to their referencing internet and social media prior to purchasing decisions rather than making a decision based on brand name alone. As pertains to deciding about trying a treatment or product, or visiting a practice or physician, this may mean that a Millennial patient may be less likely to trust in the brand or reputation of the product or the individual and may want to do his or her individual or crowd-sourced online research.This research may or may not lead Millennial patients to be more informed when seeing a physician as a new patient or in followup consultation, but this generation has strong ideas about what is right for them; the National Study of Youth and Religion found 60% of Millennials think, in all situations, they'll just be able to “feel what's right” as their guiding morality, and the National Institutes of Health found 58% of college students in 2009 had higher scores on a narcissism scale as compared to in 1982.5 In managing these patients, assuming that they will have "read up" on a treatment or product and anticipating questions will help to establish trust and to demonstrate mastery since the physician’s knowledge can be proven to exceed the quality of personalized and in-depth information that can be found online.

Creating an Experience

Millennials are disrupting the retail economy by demonstrating that they are what are being termed an “aspirational class” making carefully considered lifestyle choices around deliberate experiences and careful procurement. More than 3 of 4 Millennials would rather spend on an experience than on a physical