Millennials Demonstrating “Positive Spending Momentum”

June 2, 2016

Gallup-Millennials-Spending-Increases-by-Category-June2016Americans aged 19-35 are spending less today (averaging $85 per day) than those in that age group were spending in 2008 ($98 per day), reports Gallup in releasing new data from a wide-ranging study on Millennials. Still, Millennials are more likely than Americans in general to say that they’re spending more today than they were a year ago (42% vs. 37%).

The areas in which the largest proportion have increased their spending relate to necessities as opposed to discretionary categories:

  • Groceries (52% increasing spend);
  • Gasoline or fuel (40% increasing spend); and
  • Rent or mortgages (40% increasing spend).

Even so, there are some indications that Millennials are upping their spending on discretionary items at a greater rate than older Americans.

For example, one-third of Millennials report spending more on leisure activities, at a rate 50% higher than all other Americans (33% vs. 22%). Likewise, this young generation is more likely than other Americans to report increasing their spending on travel (29% vs. 24%), clothing (28% vs. 20%) and consumer electronics (27% vs. 18%).

They’re also more apt to be hiking their spending on retirement investments (21% vs. 17%). A comprehensive new study from MarketingCharts finds that Millennials are worried about not having enough money saved to retire, with this being second only to not being able to support a family when it comes to their top financial concerns for the future.

The Gallup report notes that the smaller amount of spending this year by 19-35-year-olds as compared to 2008 may owe to their “lower wages and higher amounts of student debt.” (The MarketingCharts report indeed shows that Millennials have lower incomes than all other generations, and hold significant levels of debt.)

One other explanation for the lesser spending over time could be a shift in Millennials’ own attitudes. Recent data from Gallup shows how 18-29-year-olds in recent years have swung to a preference for saving over spending. Specifically, almost two-thirds of 18-29-year-olds surveyed from 2014-2016 reported a preference for saving money (66%) over spending (33%) it. That marked a significant change from the 2001-2006 period, when an average of 54% of Millennials said they preferred spending as opposed to saving (43%) money.

Overall, Gallup says in its new report that 19-35-year-olds account for 28% of all daily per-person spending in the US. That figure is expected to rise as high as 35% over the next 15 years.

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