Unemployment and slow economic growth are the two biggest worries of SA’s millennial generation. Next are racial tension, climate change and terrorism/security.

This is the top line of a new survey — "Keeping up with the millennials" — by brand agency Space.

Aged 20-34, millennials make up 25% of the population; conventional wisdom has it that they are self-centred, ambitious and think and act in groups.

As "good strategy is always based on good data," says Morné Ebersohn, Space’s director of operations, the study will "enable marketers to make more informed decisions when targeting the youth market".

The online survey focused on 500 respondents and their attitudes to politics, social inequality, debt and taxes. It also looked at their propensity to use social media and the role of technology in their lives.

Under the heading "The struggle is real" almost 75% said they were worried about the state of the economy, with over 30% claiming they keep up to date with economic developments most of the time. Just over 50% think black economic empowerment policies are ineffective.

Millennials are split evenly in their support or rejection of capitalism, and the survey notes these sentiments could influence which party they vote for in next year’s elections. Political party loyalty seems a thing of the past: 50% aren’t loyal to any party and base their vote on specific policy decisions. Just over 50% say they did not vote in the last local government election.

Female respondents tend to have less faith in politicians than their male counterparts — 42% say they have no faith at all.

Brands might especially note that when it comes to money, millennials are becoming credit averse and have ever less disposable income: 30% say they are unable to save any of their salary, and 70% do not have a credit card and aren’t thinking of getting one.

Unsurprisingly, technology is big in their lives: 75% say it has made their work-life balance easier, 50% have never gone more than five hours without checking social media, and 85% sleep with their cellphones next to their beds.

Probably also not surprising is the greater acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) individuals, though 66% of religious millennials support same-sex marriage whereas 48% count themselves as nonreligious.

One leading brand manager says the survey reinforces the notion that millennials are "issue savvy" and therefore choosy when it comes to brand engagement. She also cautions not to lump them together in one homogenous group but to spend time understanding nuance.

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