Eventbrite has produced some research on milliennials (defined as those born between 1980 and 1996, making them aged between 18 and 34) which reveals that the millennial generation are drawn to experiences rather than material goods and that this is affecting their spending habits. They love concerts, music and beer festivals, athletic pursuits, cultural experiences and social events of all types.
This comes as no surprise given our poor young adults can’t afford to buy their own house, let alone car. Of course they’re blowing it all on having fun instead. Their horrid little room in a rented house with a shit landlord is making them feel depressed so they might as well go out and show the world on social media that they are having a GREAT time. I am all for this sort of behaviour and the least likely person on the planet to mention the word “pension” without feeling a little bit sick…but I do worry for them. What happens after they’ve spent all their money at a beer festival?
“Living a happy, meaningful life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities.” Their high focus on experiencing life supports the growth of an economy driven by the consumption of experiences. The combination of this generations interest in events and their increasing ability to spend is driving the growth of the experience economy. This must all be taken with a pinch of salt, bearing in mind who has initiated the research….
This also means cool cinemas are trending and doing really well. Because they don’t want to stay in. It’s interesting stuff and not really surprising that an events company has done the research, but it is all quite worrying as far as I’m concerned. I’m all for getting out and socialising and travelling the globe, but what will their spending patterns be like when they want to start a family and can’t afford loo roll? Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is also a strong driving force, thanks to social media, which again, I suspect in a few years time will be dammed for causing a massive increase in over-spending to show everyone what fun they’re having.
KEY FINDINGS AND INSIGHTS
When it comes to money, ‘experiences’ trump ‘things’: More than 3 in 4 millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable, and 55% of millennials say they’re spending more on events and live experiences than ever before.
Millennials crave more experiences: Unsurprisingly, more than 8 in 10 millennials (82%) attended or participated in a variety of live experiences in the past year, ranging from parties, concerts, festivals, performing arts and races and themed sports—and more so than other older generations (70%). But millennials can’t get enough. 72% say they would like to increase their spending on experiences rather than physical things in the next year, pointing to a move away from materialism and a growing demand for real-life experiences.
Experiences help shape identity & create life-long memories: Nearly 8 in 10 (77%) millennials say some of their best memories are from an event or live experience they attended or participated in. 69% believe attending live events and experiences make them more connected to other people, the community, and the world.
FOMO drives millennials’ experiential appetite: Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) millennials experience FOMO. In a world where life experiences are broadcasted across social media, the fear of missing out drives millennials to show up, share and engage.
Americans are dedicating more income to experiences: Millennials don’t hold the exclusive: the demand for live experiences is happening across the generational board. Since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. comsumer spending increased 70%. People want to experience more, and businesses are evolving and entering the market to meet that demand.
Spending on Making Memories Trumps Buying ‘Stuff’
For past generations, owning a first car was a rite of passage. Buying a first home signaled achievement of the American Dream. These life milestones were once important factors for identity-creation. But millennials aren’t as interested in owning a home or buying a car as previous generations were at their age (because they can’t afford it). True now more than in past generations, for millennials, real value is derived from experiencing, not possessing. I do agree that shunning material goods is no bad thing. Who needs possessions when you can enjoy time with your nearest and dearest? But nevertheless….it’s a short term fix, surely?
With an emphasis on collecting experiences rather than acquiring tangible goods, millennial spending is markedly different than that of older generations at their age, and is a reflection of their aspirations: More than 3 in 4 millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable and 55% of millennials say they’re spending more on events than ever before, with no signs of slowing.
Millennials aren’t the only generation demanding experiences, but they are influential in progressing the experience economy. The demand for live experiences is happening across the generational board. Since 1987, the share of consumer spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. spending increased 70%. People want to experience more and to live a more experiential life, and businesses are rising to meet that demand. With millennials now accounting for more than one fourth of the total U.S. population, their spending impacts the birds-eye view. Therefore my top tip would be to keep an eye on the older generation who already have their houses and cars – they are the ones who are going to be long term frivolous, now that they can release funds from their houses and their pensions. They will be the ones with the real spending power on experiences – so where are the festivals for the over 50’s? Come on guys…get with the programme.
Experiences create irreplaceable memories: 77% say some of the best memories of their life have been made at live events (the bits they can remember anyway and the bits that they can’t? They’re on their phone).
Events are bonding experiences: 79% of millennials feel that going to live events with family and friends helps deepen their relationships. In fact, 30% of millennials say they met someone at a live event that became a good friend.
Millennials gain a sense of community via events: 69% of millennials believe attending events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world.
Experiences are better when shared on social media 60% of millienials share their lives online, compared to only 17% of the 65+ year olds and 45% of the 35-44 year olds. 34% of the 45-54 year olds share their posts online on either blogs, on Twitter or Facebook and Instagram.