Jan 11, 2019
Insights into a generation in search of instant gratification.
Millennials have been called the world’s most powerful consumers. They will soon outnumber baby boomers, and their behaviors and opinions will continue to shift the economy for years to come.
Young adults—including younger millennials and some older members of Generation Z—earn less, save less, and invest less than their parents. According to data from the federal reserve compiled by advocacy group Young Invincibles, millennials make an average of 20% less and have half the assets than baby boomers did at the same age. The majority of adults age 18 to 35 don’t even contribute to a 401k.
In general, these adults are all about the “now” when it comes to managing their money, and that includes spending more on experiences than material items. In a sense, their behavior signals the pursuit of instant gratification and of living rich despite having less wealth.
A recent study by Viacom and customer experience agency C Space puts this behavior in context, dubbing it the “YOLO Market.” The study examines the behavior of adults between the ages of 18 to 30—a young adult cohort that’s comprised of millennials and Gen Zers. Combining interviews with financial service experts, a nationally representative survey of adults 18 to 30, and consumer testimonials and interviews, the study reveals how this behavior is leading to a commerce revolution and how advertisers can better connect with these consumers.
"Just 44% of emerging adults rate financial security as 'important' when making life decisions. "
Embedded in these purchase experiences is convenience. They are instantly accessible and on-demand. In effect, when shopping becomes effortless, it enables consumers to spend less time on to-dos. For millennials and Gen-Z, that means they can focus on the now.
Convenience is also a driving factor in how millennials and Gen Z handle their money. In general, young adults have a lackluster financial IQ and are skeptical about the banking process. They rely on technology to manage their finances, using autopay for bills, subscriptions for repeat purchases, and automated investment services to siphon savings. They don’t expect their habits today to remain forever, either. In fact, according to the study, 70% of young adults believe in five years, the way they pay for things will be totally different.