Spending Philosophy Differs Across Generations, But All Turn More Practical

January 29, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Demographics & Audiences | Youth & Gen X

NRFProsper-Consumer-Spending-Philosophies-by-Generation-Jan2014A slight majority – 53% – of Millennials (born 1981-1995) say they have a “live for today” spending philosophy, a mindset which is not shared by older generations, according to a study [pdf] released by the NRF using Prosper Insights data and sponsored by KPMG. Indeed, just 38% of Gen Xers (born 1965-1980) concur with this sentiment, and even fewer Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964; 25%) and Silents (born mid-1920s to 1945; 23%) share it. Each generation is getting less impulsive with its spending, though.

Citing data from a Prosper Insights survey conducted in October 2013 (the above data is from the monthly survey conducted in December), the NRF finds that respondents are far more likely to have become more practical than impulsive with their purchases in the previous 6 months. Specifically,

  • 46% of Millennials reported becoming more practical and realistic in their purchases, compared to 8% who claimed to have become less practical and more impulsive;
  • 51% of Gen Xers became more practical versus just 5% who turned more impulsive;
  • 57% of Boomers claimed to have become more realistic in their purchases, against 4% who became less practical; and
  • 53% of Silents reported becoming more practical as opposed to just 2% becoming more impulsive.

Those figures make sense in the context of recent survey data from IRI indicating that consumers felt quite cash-strapped in Q4, with 83% saying they had difficulty affording their regular groceries.

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