You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the “Millennial Generation,” the term given to those who came of age near the turn of the new millennium (specifically, those born after 1980). In fact, you might be considered a Millennial yourself. As we prepare to move into a new year of spending and money management, we asked ourselves what we’ve learned about the Millennial Generation in 2012. How can a greater understanding of Millennial trends help us provide you the best money management advice for 2013? Read on to discover what we’ve deemed the top three consumer trends of this generation and to learn how these findings might help you spend even smarter in the New Year.
Millennials are careful about the products they purchase. Many want to know where their products and services come from. Questions like whether products are environmentally sustainable or produced in fair conditions weigh heavier on this group than previous generations. They also tend to value unique or specialty items, and have displayed a tendency to pay more for these products. As a result, companies like TOMs, Etsy and Fab have grown in popularity. These companies speak to Millennials’ desire to spend money on products that also allow them to contribute to a good cause or support a thoughtful, original craft. Does this sound like you? Just remember, it’s also important to be thoughtful about the way you choose to pay for these products. Using your debit card will ensure you’re only spending money already in your checking account, helping you to avoid debt. Now, that’s what we call conscientious consumption!
De-sensitized to Privacy
With the rise of social networks and the convenience of shopping and paying bills online, the Millennial Generation has grown up accustomed to sharing more of their personal information than previous generations. While that makes Millennials more open and accessible than others, it also puts them at risk for online fraud and identity theft. Whether for banking, online payments or social sharing, Millennials are frequently sharing personal information online. Think about it. How many times a day would you say you share at least one piece of information about yourself online? We bet it’s pretty often! It’s not a problem as long as you remember these few tips. Continue to be cognizant of the level of security of the websites you visit. Look for secure transaction symbols like a lock icon in the browser window or a browser URL beginning with “https.” Also, always log off from a website after making a purchase. And, be very careful about the types of information you might be sharing about yourself on social networks.
Technology is Everything
This group loves to multi-task. Some might even call it “hyper-tasking” when you consider how much information they process at once. Millennials frequently manage their email, social networks, online shopping or bill-payment, phone calls, games, Internet browsing and more all from one device. Part of what allows Millennials to consume so much information at once is the technology on which they’ve come to rely. Moving into 2013, companies who provide products and services to Millennials will be forced to keep up. And that includes the continued rise of mobile payments. We’ll likely see more and more merchants develop a capability for mobile payments. And this could also mean an even bigger increase in the use of debit cards as opposed to cash or checks, as Millennials continue to look for fast, secure ways to manage their finances through mobile devices.