What were must-owns to previous generations are not as high priorities for Millennials. Only three-in 20 think it’s really important to own a television.
The largest generation in history, Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, enter their prime spending years mired in debt and with less money to spend. But, like previous generations, they have expectations for their own vision of the good life. What does this mean for the economy? A series of charts recently released by Goldman Sachs etches a revealing generation-defining portrait.
There are 92 million Millennials, compared with 77 million Baby Boomers and 61 million Gen Xers. They are the first generation to come of age in a digital world and in their online viewing habits are changing the way Americans consume entertainment. They are significantly more likely than previous generations to communicate about a service, product or brand via text messaging, social media, instant messaging and blogging.
But hit hard by the economic collapse and subsequent recession that left them unemployed or underemployed in a still challenging job market, Millennials indicate that they are putting off major life commitments such as getting married. The percentage of young adults married and living on their own has dropped by more than 50 percent since the 1960s (23 percent in 2012 vs. 56 percent in 1968).
Millennials are also putting off becoming homeowners. Not that they don’t want their own home. Nine-in-ten Millennials indicate they would like to be a home owner someday, compared with three-fourths of those ages 35-44 and 72 percent of 45-54 year-olds. But for now, an increasing number are content (or at least willing) to live with their parents (29.9 percent in 2010, up from 27.7 percent in 2000).
For these young adults, access makes the heart grow fonder. They are proponents of renting, not buying, and of a “shared economy.” In terms of shopping, quality is a consideration, but it’s not as important as price. They are significantly more likely than previous generations to use social media and online resources to scout out the best deals and values.
What were must-owns to previous generations are not as high priorities for Millennials. Only three-in 20 think it’s really important to own a television. In terms of consuming entertainment, size really doesn’t matter when it comes to screens. For young adults, watching films and TV shows on demand on their laptops, tablets and smartphones is the new normal. Likewise, nearly one-third indicate they do not plan to buy a car.
Millennials put a high premium on their health. Compared with previous generations, they are exercising more, eating healthier and smoking less as part of a daily commitment to wellness.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.