CommonSense Blog

Millennials Unplugged: The View from Europe

By Bob Pearson | May 30, 2015

We recently sat down to speak with Millennials working for W2O Group in London to think about what is different between Europe and the US.

It is fascinating to both of us to figure out why we have slight differences in our behavior.  Here’s seven examples of how we’re different.

#1 – What’s App is the Choice of a Diverse Region – in a region of 50+ countries, you have a wide variety of telecom providers, phone choices, different cultures and a much earlier embrace of open source software for mobile phones. Android is normal and widespread in the EU. What’s App works across iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Android and Nokia.  The ability to work across many software platforms, has become far more important for EU Millennials.  Unlike the iPhone obsessed US, where iMessage is king.

#2 – When a Channel is Local and Trust is an Important Factor, Pay Attention – our careers are pretty important to us.  We want the information just right and we care who sees our information.  Back in 2006, Xing was formed by entrepreneurs in Hamburg, Germany.  Today, Xing is preferred vs. LinkedIn in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, all German-speaking countries.  We believe this will be a trend worldwide in the years ahead.  The more personal the information, the higher the likelihood of local channel success.

#3 – Not all Channels Resonate – Germany, Sweden and Twitter don’t mix well.  Sweden and Pinterest are not a match.  Not sure why.  It just isn’t something people like as much.

#4 – The Common Choices are ClearSnapchat is big for EU and the US.  Spotify is well regarded.  Facebook for sharing of event information works in both regions and Instagram is a winner.  Complete agreement on these four.

#5 – Connecting Accounts to Apps or Social Sites is an Issue – there is little support for having to connect your account to Facebook when you use Spotify in Germany, for example.  There is a general feeling of “why do you have to know what I’m doing”.  Of course, as we think about our feelings on privacy, we are having this discussion in London, where there are estimated to be 500,000 cameras to track what we do in public.  In both regions, there is not a high degree of anxiety about privacy, but there is an underlying question we’re all asking.  How much information is too much and what are you doing with my info?

#6 – #dontcareabouthashtags – that’s the perfect hashtag for EU Millennials.  They don’t care about hashtags like Americans do.  They exist, just not that interested in them.

#7 – Amazon Prime trumps NetFlix – Amazon Prime, BBC and SkyTV are more relevant than NetFlix, which came in fourth in people’s minds.  Bob wonders if the phenomenon of stock price and Silicon Valley buzz impacts our decisions more in the US.  In the US, we hear about NetFlix stock constantly and what the CEO is doing.  In Europe, not so much…..and the result is Amazon Prime is just fine thank you and we still like our local/regional providers.

Thanks to Lisa Neiss, Ruta Freitakaite, Kathrin Harhoff, Zoe Kindler, Piers Jones and Tove Bergenholt for sharing their thoughts and perspectives from living in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania and Sweden.  We realized after speaking with you that there are a lot of common areas between the US and Europe, but an equal number of differences that are pretty cool to think about.

We have a lot more to cover in the future.  Thanks again.

Brittany Pearson (Millennial) and Bob Pearson (Boomer)