5 Surprising Things Millennials Are Saving
By now, we're several years into headlines about how Millennials are "killing" one industry or another (here's a list of things millennials killed just in 2018, here's 70 things they killed in 2017). Each time it comes down to "People under 40 don't care about the same things their parents wasted their money on!" Only they treat this like it's some kind of crisis.
But if they actually want to understand how Millennials think, maybe they should be looking at what they spend their cash on instead? It's actually very revealing ...
They're Really Into Holidays
This article from The New York Post tried to hop on the "Look how awful Millennials are" bandwagon by suggesting they ruined Halloween. However, if you actually read the thing, the author makes the opposite point. Millennials love Halloween. Too much. Yeah, the problem for the author is that he is a boring fart who hates other people's fun.
In 2017, Halloween spending hit an all-time high of $9.1 billion. That broke down to about $183 per Millennial on candy, costumes, and decor vs. $23 for Baby Boomers. Why this pisses off the author is anyone's guess. Is he one of those Benjamin Button fuckers who was born old, came out wearing a suit, and counts "dry" as his favorite flavor? I don't care enough to find out.
The Millennial holiday fun time train doesn't end on November 1, either. Valentine's Day is also dominated by Millennials, who spend an average of $202 each on Cupid-print iPhone cases and heart-shaped avocados. Over Thanksgiving, Millennials stuff the economic turkey with $419.52 each, which is 25 percent higher than the overall average. Millennials say their Christmas spending went up 45 percent in 2016, and in Canada they outpaced other age groups on buying festive poutine.
Around here is where our pattern will start to emerge: In a world in which big-ticket things like vacation homes and, well, regular homes are out of reach, what young people value are experiences. Likewise ...
Millennials Are Really Into Travel And ... RVs?
Already some of you are annoyed. "Travel? I can't even afford to take a trip down the block because the bank repossessed my shoes." But that's kind of the point.
Conventional wisdom says a Millennial is defined by two things. The first is their birthday. The second is that they're glorious paupers. And it's definitely true to a point, because sometimes I just salt hot water and call it diet soup. But when Millennials do come into some cash, they use it to save the travel industry.
It's not as ridiculous as it sounds on the surface. Some speculate that the idea of buying a home is so daunting for the poor Millennial they just save up to go to Ibiza instead. Forbes chalked it up to a Millennial desire to be unique and have some cool experiences under one's belt (travel also makes for great Instagramming). And no one ever did anything cool at home, that's a fact. You have to ditch your shitty town and fly to Dublin to experience life. Unless you live in Dublin already, in which case you can come here and have the time of your life. We can swap houses!
Add it all up and Millennials make up 20 percent of international travelers, paying around $180 billion a year to eat baguettes under the Eiffel Tower, or whatever people do when they go to France. (Eat baguettes at the Louvre?) Millennials are 23 percent more likely to travel than older generations, so the whole industry is pretty focused on younger people right now. Old people truly are good for nothing except putting plastic on furniture and tooling around in their RVs. Except even that's not true. Millennials are the ones in the RVs.
They've created a crazy RV-buying boom almost completely for the same reasons they like to travel abroad. Having an RV means you don't need to be bogged down with shit like a home or an address. If you want to travel, you never have to stop, because you're at home even while you do it. RV sales climbed 15 percent from 2015 to 2017, mainly because Millennials love being able to drive around with a toilet and bed behind them.
And at maybe $200 a month, it kind of kicks the shit out of rent in an apartment. So what if you need to empty a poop tank behind the Walmart once a week? That's actually a perk in my mind.
Cosmetics And Spas Are Booming
Millennial spending on cosmetics in 2017 was up 25 percent from just two years earlier. Those numbers mean literally nothing to me, because I have no idea what cosmetics cost. Is lipstick $5 or $30? Is vanishing cream a real thing, or something I saw in a cartoon once? Would I look good with some rouge? Whatever the case, the person profiled in this article spends $300 a month on cosmetics, which is what I spend on tacos, so I feel like I kind of get it. In slightly bigger terms, Ulta Beauty saw a rise in revenue from $3.9 billion to $5.9 billion over two years. That's so much lipstick, y'all.
When Millennials aren't busy making themselves look like mid '80s Dee Snider, they're going to more in-depth methods of self-care at med spas. Ever been to a med spa? Those are places where they'll laser the hair off your third nipple and then pump it full of Botox so it looks like a majestically plump flesh mountain. And as much as it seems like Botox is the purview of the flaccid Baby Boomer generation, it's not so. Young folks can't get enough of that shit.
The proliferation of Millennials heading to med spas for noninvasive preventative treatments has led to some impressive growth in the industry. While Mom and Dad go to these places to smooth out the wrinkles, Millennials want to stop them before they start. A lot of their customer base is men, in fact, with 31 percent of Millennial men saying they're extremely likely to consider a surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedure. In plain English, one in three dudes is willing to pay someone to laser their shaft if they think it'll impress a future paramour.
So why would a Millennial care about makeup and med spas in significant enough numbers to have en effect on the entire industry? Because you need to look good when you take an average of 25,000 selfies in your life. That may sound vain but, well, yeah. That's the point. You get Botox and you put on the makeup because you want to look good. And then you take the selfie because you did look good and feel like memorializing that. Circle of sexy life.
They Love Public Libraries
Everyone hates libraries. Or at least politicians do, as evidenced by the fact even the president wants to make them go away. They're constantly under threat of losing funding and being banished to the Phanom Zone. After all, we have the internet, for god's sake. There is hope for the beleaguered library, however, and it's not just in the form of camgirls using them as places to masturbate.
Millennials are making use of libraries in massive numbers. 53 percent of Millennials had recently used a library in one survey, compared to 45 percent of Gen Xers and 43 percent of Baby Boomers. It's not just a hipster love of the Dewey Decimal System; it's because libraries are actually useful places to be. While older people seem to be out of touch with what a library offers these days, Millennials know that newfangled libraries often have access to technology a lot of people don't, including things like 3D printers. There are literacy programs for kids, community groups, and plenty of room to socialize. And it's all free. It's like they want you to go there!
Pundits who haven't been to a library in decades criticize them by saying they're obsolete, but they're actually ahead of the curve. Libraries have been pushing for innovation for 20 years, because they actually do want to stay relevant. Public libraries are places to gather, experience new shit, and do it at no cost -- the same thing they've been for a long time. It's not weird that Millennials want to go there. It's weird that other people don't. And you never know when you'll run into a masturbating camgirl.
They Like To Read Off Of Actual Paper
Of course, a big reason libraries were supposed to be obsolete is that paper books and magazines were also supposed to be dead by now. Yet Millennials know there is just something special about paper. Postcards and printed books are both enjoying a renaissance at the hands of the people stereotypically uninterested in such things. If you're under 35, you're 55 percent more likely to send a postcard than someone over 35. Millennials are also twice as likely to have read a print book than one of those e-books that were supposedly destined to replace them.
There's some psychology at work here. People don't feel like they legitimately own e-books. There's no emotional attachment to them, no sense that you control the book and can do with it as you please. In an unexpected twist, however, it was older readers who saw more advantage in reading e-books instead of print books, owing to things younger readers wouldn't usually consider, like being more lightweight and the ability to zoom in on text.
As for mail, it's kind of the same thing. The physical aspect has a degree of specialness to it. You get something that had to be printed and sent out and has your name on it. That takes a hell of a lot more effort than a Nigerian Prince half-assing an email from his toilet. It's not about the actual words or information being conveyed, it's the emotional experience of receiving it, the little bit of sentimental value you can't measure in dollars.
All of this comes down to a generation that seems determined to find happiness in the little things. If it all seems wasteful or childish to you, you at least have to admit that none of it is as silly and counterproductive as Baby Boomers' favorite hobby, which is getting mad at Millennials.
If you do choose to live that RV life, make sure you aren't gross and get a little washing machine that'll fit in it.
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