European Youth Won’t Sacrifice Clothes, Travel in Recession

March 10, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Europe & Middle East | Men | Retail & E-Commerce | Videogames | Women | Youth & Gen X

Though nearly all European youth are aware of the current economic downturn and 60% say it is having an effect on their lives, many are unwilling give up such priorities as clothes and fashion, vacations/holidays, and going out with friends until they absolutely have to,? according to research released by Viacom Brand Solutions International (VBSI).

The research, which VBSI said is indicative of youth opinion at large, finds that 96% of youth surveyed in the UK, Italy, Germany and other European countries are conscious of the recession and 88% have talked about it with their friends and family.

It also reveals that current economic circumstances are causing youth to prioritize their spending in specific areas, and to change their mindsets about their long-term financial futures. Youth now are more aware of potential difficulties about finding desirable jobs and homes, VBSI said.

Changing Priorities

Even those who feel they have more than or the same amount of money as they did a year ago are more worried about their financial situation, the research found.? In light of this, when asked if they were faced with less money to spend,? they would prioritize their spending on the following:

  1. Clothes and fashion
  2. Vacations and travel
  3. Going out with friends

When these priorities are examined by age, interesting differences emerge, according to VBSI. Those in the 15-24 year-old age group are not willing to sacrifice clothes and fashion, and two-thirds say clothes and fashion is one of the most vital things they spend their money on. Going out with friends, ranked as the second most important thing to spend their money on.

Spending money on clothes is most important among females, while males are more likely to consider technology items and computer games a necessity when it comes to spending, the survey found. Going to the movies is more important for females but renting/buying DVDs is more important for males.

For the 25-34 year-old age group, vacations/travel is the most important thing to continue spending on, while clothes and going out rate as the second and third most important expenditures.

Youth Not Recession-Proof

Though youth are still spending on what they personally think is ‘essential,” the study found that three-fourths of young people surveyed are being more careful with the money they spend on themselves.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) say they are staying home more or looking for less expensive ways to spend time with friends, while 41% of 25-34 year olds say they are worried about paying back debts.

Overall Attitude Upbeat

Despite a widespread concern over finances, the attitude of young people in Europe is generally positive, with the predominant feeling amongst youth right now being hopeful and looking forward to the future, the research found.? When questioned, youth are more likely to say that they feel hopeful than to feel worried or confused. Among all 15-34 year-olds surveyed, the most predominant feelings were all positive emotions (hopeful, positive, happy and optimistic).

The younger 15-24 age group is the most likely to say they feel hopeful. They are also more likely to be motivated and optimistic, despite being the most stressed group right now. The 25-34-year old age group, while also hopeful are more likely to say they feel content.

Country differences in youth attitudes:

  • 97% of UK youth are aware about the economic downturn and 76% say that they see and read about it often (this is higher than the European average of 59%).
  • UK youth index higher than the European average in feeling that they have less money than a year ago (42%) and they are also more worried than other European youth about their financial situation now compared to a year ago (61%).
  • Spending money on holidays is most important for young Italians (64% agree compared with the European average of 51%).
  • UK youth would sacrifice visits to restaurants over buying/renting DVDs, while the reverse is true in Italy where computer games are considered less important to budget for than buying/renting DVDs and going out to eat.
  • Youth in Germany are most likely to say that music is one of the three most important things to spend their money on. They are also least likely to give up going out to bars/clubs.

“This survey backs up previous research findings from our audience in highlighting that instead of being oblivious to the changing economic circumstances around them, young people are actually very aware and focused on issues affecting their lives and importantly retain a positive outlook,” said Jules Robinson, SVP of VBSI.

In related news about youth and the economy, a study by TRU found that young people in the US plan to make spending cuts as a result of the economic downturn.

About the VBSI survey: The survey was carried out using opinions from the My MTV consumer panel. Members are MTV consumers recruited through MTV websites acting as spokespeople on topics relevant to them. The survey was conducted between January 30 and February 5, 2009 among a total number of 686 respondents across the UK, Italy and other European countries.

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