Millennials will drive future value for energy providers, survey shows

A new survey has found that a strong consumer demand in new products and services from millennials will create a significant amount of value for energy providers who embrace the younger generations.

Research from leading global professional services company Accenture reveals that the millennials demographic brings a strong influence on key consumer engagement trends and will involve themselves with energy providers, which are exploring new energy models, in a far deeper way than older generations.

According to The New Energy Consumer study, which explores the views of almost 10,000 respondents across 17 countries, millennials are the most likely age group to sign up for new energy products and services, with 24% of the demographic classified as “early adopters”. At 56%, millennials are twice as likely as people over 55 to sign up for solar panels in the next five years.

Millennials are far more likely to consider distributed energy resources (DER) products and services after receiving related information – 87% compared to 60% among those over 55.

The expectations of millennials are higher when it comes to use of digital channels, attaching more importance than older demographics to the latest digital technologies that enable them to interact with their energy providers.

“Energy providers must take these and other insights about these groups to heart, to unlock value, because consumers’ preferences and behaviours are rapidly changing the market landscape,” said Accenture Energy Consumer Services managing director Tony Masella. “Successful energy providers will place design thinking at the heart of their business and view customer and retail operations as a strategic asset.”

Personalised marketplace

The survey showed that energy providers have substantial opportunities to engage with millennials as they gain in influence over other consumers, with 41% of millennials interacting more frequently with their energy provider using social media.

Research also showed that new value propositions are of higher interest to millennials. Currently, 77% percent would be interested in an online personalised marketplace to select and purchase energy-related products and services.

“Customer strategies must take a broad view of the trends shaping today’s consumers, and more importantly, the consumers of tomorrow,” Masella said. “To thrive, energy providers must move quickly to architect their transformation, build new capabilities to seize new opportunities, achieve scale and continuously innovate using digitalisation, automation and multi-faceted operations.”

‘Digital natives’

The business community is gradually realising the opportunities of tuning in to the trends and consumer demands of millennials, which will become increasingly essential to drive the sustainability agenda in the upcoming years.

Collaborative organisation Collectively’s chief executive Will Gardner recently stated that a growing number of millennials – “digital natives and a globally empathetic generation” – want businesses to become “agents for positive change” in promoting sustainability.

Gardner urged businesses to motivate the 1.8bn millennials on the planet by using “passion points” such as fashion and music an avenue already being explored in CSR reporting through rap battles.

The concept of servitisation to drive closed-loop practices could soon be driven by the natural acceptance of millennials towards renting, according to Veolia’s head of circular economy.

Speaking at the edie Live conference earlier this year, Forbes McDougall said: “The critical aspect in all of this is that the younger generation are coming into markets with a much more open mind towards using services.”

George Ogleby

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