“Millennials” may rank as one of the most-used words in the English language in recent months, but it’s for good reason. This generation, born roughly between 1980 and 2000, make up more than one-third of the U.S. population, making them easily the country’s largest demographic.

The millennial generation’s experience has been unique, thanks to the fact that it was the first to have lifelong access to the Internet. This fact, along with all of the connectivity that it implies, has profoundly affected the cohort’s attitudes and behaviors, and this, in turn has impacted our society to a tremendous extent.

What makes them tick?

Access to Technology

Millennials are connected 24/7, and they expect to be able to handle both personal and business matters using digital tools. Access to social media means that millennials have come to rely on the expertise of others when making decisions about all sorts of things -what to buy, where to live, how to work, and what apps to try. Their love of technology has led to an explosion of innovation and the utilization of digital solutions across all industries, including CRE.

This preference is behind the movement toward omni-channel retail, which in turn is changing the space requirements for many businesses. As more transactions move online, the need for physical showrooms is decreasing while strategically located warehouse space is in greater demand.

Another significant area where technology drives change is in property management. Firms that offer advantages like online rent payment, virtual tours, and automated marketing are connecting with millennial clients.

Urban Walkability

“Walkability” wasn’t even a word until the millennials came along. Now it’s one of the characteristics of the ideal workplace. Millennials have encouraged the growth of mixed-use developments through their desire to live, work, and play in one neighborhood. Office tenants are finding that a central location, near city amenities is a tool for attracting and retaining millennial talent.

Social and Collaborative

Another thing about millennials that’s changing the workplace: they work well with others. This generation values collaboration, and wants opportunities to interact in the workplace. This has led to major changes in what the modern workplace looks like. Gone are the hallways lined with private offices. Spaces are designed for tasks rather than people, and mobile technology frees workers from sitting at a single workstation.

Today’s workplace, with its rooftop terraces, gourmet coffee, comfortable lounges, and bike rooms can all be attributed to the millennial social butterfly. It’s one of the many ways that this generation is changing the landscape for CRE.

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