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Intelligence: Havas Media Singapore reveals 7 Codes that shape the way Singaporean Millennials think, feel and act

SINGAPORE – It started with the hypothesis that it is different being a Millennial in Asia. After all, the term “Millennial” is a construct borne out of the West.

The Havas Group Asia Pacific embarked on a 2-year in-depth ethnography study of Millennials living in key cities across Asia Pacific: Bangkok, Jakarta, Hongkong, Shanghai, Beijing, Mumbai, New Delhi, Sydney, Singapore, Manila and Kuala Lumpur. Its primary focus was to build a Millennial “Thick Data” set – an approach that opts to take a deep and immersive understanding of each Millennial participant and the universes they revolve in.

To make this study possible, a team of Anthropologists, Researchers, and Strategic Planners interviewed a total of 1,430 informants to enrich the 130 millennial portraits.


Singapore currently has 1.25 million millennial that forms about 22.5% of the population. The Singapore leg of the study involved developing 10 millennial portraits that formed the basis of ethnography. Each portrait was done one on one and for each portrait five in the millennial circle comprising of family or friends were also interviewed. Using the Life-stage approach allowed for a holistic picture of the 18-28-year-old Millennial Mindset in Singapore.

Gayia Beyer, Director of Applied Anthropology, Havas Group, Asia Pacific, said: ““The Millennial Codes is an in-depth qualitative study, merging Ethnography and Strategic Planning disciplines to reveal the hidden patterns and cultural dynamics that subconsciously direct Asian Millennials’ life choices and life goals. Asian Millennials are born into strong cultural value systems that affect their interactions in a globally-connected world. In the course of this study we unearthed multiple aspects of Singaporean millennials that struck as unique and different. Take for instance National Service that plays a role in the way millennials consume content and engage with brands.”

Jacqui Lim, CEO, Havas Media Singapore, said: ”The study takes an in depth look at the habits and lifestyle of millennials in Singapore and has found some interesting differences and similarities between Singaporean millennials and their counterparts in other Asian markets. The insights garnered from this study are much richer and deeper given the methodology used to form the millennial portraits for Singapore and will certainly be leveraged on to power more engaging strategies to create meaningful connections with the millennials of today.”

The study establishes 7 main themes, or “Codes” that provide a deeper understanding on what are the webs of significance in an Asian Millennial’s life:

Code 1: Meta-Me – Identity and the greater self of the Asian Millennial

Code 2: Take Pride in Passions over Profession – Purpose, and fulfillment over life choices

Code 3: Negotiate Life – Engaging authority figures in the Millennial pursuit of happiness

Code 4: Into the Comfort Zone – Exploration for motivation

Code 5: For Squad Eyes Only – Ways of expression across platforms

Code 6: Reformat, Reboot, Delete – The nature of Millennial relationships

Code 7: Trust in the Cloud – Shifts from Physical to virtual transactions

Click here to access our Instagram account on Millennial Codes.

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