21 Apr The Millennial Club
Millennial. Type the word into google followed by ‘are’ and the top suggestions are ‘lazy’, ‘entitled’, ‘stupid’ and ‘killing’. Great. No wonder we have a much more negative view of ourselves compared to previous generations – 59% of millennials described their own generation as “self-absorbed”, compared to just 20% and 33% of Baby Boomers and Generation X.
We’re the most talked about generation ever, but what does the data really say about us compared to assumed opinion?
Firstly, we’re a lot less rock and roll than the media makes out. We’re actually a health conscious generation; 57% of us are strict with ourselves to stay healthy all or most of the time, and 77% ranked being physically and mentally healthy as what would enable us to have a happy and fulfilled life. This is far above being wealthy at 41% and even higher than having an active social life. We care about our wellbeing- we’re buying less cigarettes, drinking less, and are exercising more.
And we’re not as obsessed with material goods as they would have us believe. 53% of UK millennials would rather spend money on an experience that a possessions. Only 22.6% valued material goods higher than experiences. We’re aware and conscious of our power as a consumer; 59% believe brands should actively participate to improve causes. 54% of 16-34 year olds would be more loyal to brands that help improve ecological and societal issues. And we ain’t about that flashy marketing; 81% of 16-24 year olds relate to brand campaigns more if they use “real” people and not celebrities or models.
80% of 16-24 year olds say that knowledge is important to them, and we are actively seeking to improve that- 88% of us want to travel more, 59% want to learn a new language and 67% think that it is important to develop new life skills. And this reflects on how we want the work environment to be. 92% of us think that business success should be measured by more than profit, and 82% of us believe that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. 88% prefer a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one, and we’re more likely than previous generations to report creativity as an important job aspect. Money is not the be all and end all for our generation, 64% of us would rather work a job we love for $40k than one we think is boring for $100k. We’re appreciative, and much more loyal to companies than previous generations.
In terms of identity we are much more diverse in how we place ourselves. 94% of millennials feel it is really important to have a unique identity. 49% of 18-24 year olds define themselves as something other than totally heterosexual; we are accepting and have a much more extensive view on gender and sexuality than older generations. We are the most racially diverse generation ever, 52% of us describe ourselves as a global citizen, and 45% of us agree with preferential treatment to improve the position of minorities.
Despite the much more relaxed and open views on race, sexuality and gender, 59% still feel that traditional values are important to them; we would still like to get married, own a house and actively save. And only 24% of us feel that Tinder dating culture has a place in today’s society- despite the front, we’re still all old-fashioned romantics at heart.
We’re greener and more eco-conscious than previous generations; only 29% of 17-20 year olds have a driving license compared to 48% in 1994. 65% of us favour public or self-powered transport for day-to-day travel. Cars are an unnecessary cost to us, and we are more likely to car share or use travel schemes.
Ahh money. Where do you even begin with financial burdens and millennials? University debt has never been higher, and the average house price has risen from £200k in 2006 to £303k in 2016. 72% of us suffered personally as a result of the recession and 59% of us worry about not having enough money to retire. We are the first generation where the parents will see their kids worse off than them since the Second World War. Being able to own a house seems like an unachievable aspiration. But history says that something has to give at some point, and so let’s hope that it does.
Despite our financial worries, the one thing we as a generation like to spend on? Food. We spend on average £63.35 a week on food, whereas older, wealthier generations spend only £57.30. Despite our money troubles we seem to always find money for a dirty burger or a indo-dutch fusion food pop-up.
So, looking at the data, we millennials aren’t all that bad. We’re health and eco conscious, hard-working, loyal, creative, and accepting of race, gender and sexuality, behind the myriad of Instagram filters, memes and “self-absorbed” blog posts. The fact is that past generations were probably just as “self-absorbed”, it just wasn’t as obnoxiously displayed all over social media. But who cares, we millennials are saving the world, one self-righteous infographic at a time.
Youth Trends Report 2016