We hear a lot about millennials. They love technology. They consume avocado toast and smoothies. They want to go vegan and save the planet. But is this enough to describe an entire generation of people born between 1981 and 1996? And what about millennial spending statistics? What can they tell us about this age group?
What is a millennial? What sets millennial demographics apart from other generations? What and how do they shop? Is it true that millennials have no money? Can they manage their finances?
The answers to these and a bunch of other questions await you in the article below.
10 Key Millennial Spending Statistics for 2021
- Millennials account for 25% of Americans.
- At the moment, millennials make the largest share of buyers — 38%.
- 61% of millennials believe now is the right time to start thinking about investments.
- Millennials spend about $112 on video games on a monthly basis.
- Millennial spending power reached about $1.4 trillion in 2020.
- Millennials allocate around 35.7% of their monthly income on rent alone.
- 39.1% of millennials get their shopping inspiration from Instagram.
- 86.2% of millennials in the US were digital buyers in 2020.
- A quarter of millennials have saved at least $100,000.
- Gen Y has an average of $27,900 in personal debt without the mortgages.
Millennial Consumer Trends & Basics in 2021
What do millennials like more than other generations? What is Gen Y like?
1. Millennials account for 25% of Americans.
How many millennials are there in the US? 82.22 million millennials currently live in the US, according to recent figures. Gen Y is currently the second-largest generation in the country, right behind Gen Z, which in 2020 made up 26% of the US population.
2. The global millennial spending power is lower than that of the previous generations.
(The Brookings Institution) (The Economist) (CNBC)
Median household wealth among millennials (estimated at around $71,400 in 2018) is lower than with households of a similar age in the past, but that doesn’t stop Gen Y from dreaming big.
Over 50% of millennials think that they will be a millionaire one day.
3. Millennials are getting married later in life, and a quarter is unlikely to ever get married.
Do millennials spend too much money? Schooled by the 2008 recession, millennials don’t want to be financially burdened. As a result, they’re more cautious when it comes to making big decisions in life, such as buying a home, taking a student loan, and starting a family.
4. Generation Y is more diverse and more educated than previous generations.
(The Brookings Institution)
44% of millennials were identified as a minority compared to just a quarter of adults of a similar age in 1985. On the education front, over 60% of adult millennials had attended college as opposed to 46% of boomers when they were the same age.
5. Millennials read more books than any other generation.
(The Expert Editor)
What are millennials purchasing besides essentials? Books. Gen Y reads an average of five books per year. Likewise, they visit public libraries more than other age groups.
When it comes to books, most of them will read printed books. Moreover, 92% of millennial students prefer to use physical textbooks more than digital ones, so second-hand book websites are flourishing.
Millennial Spending Habits
What do they prefer spending the money on? How much are they willing to pay for fresh fruit, and how much of their income is dedicated to restaurant eating?
6. Millennials spend about $325 on bakery products every year.
When it comes to other products, they spend about $885 on miscellaneous foods and $393 on nonalcoholic beverages. Fresh fruits cost about $279.
Gen Y is apparently not big on dairy and eggs as well as cereal and bakery products. Compared to other age groups, they spend the least of their budget on the mentioned products—4.2%, i.e., 7.9%, respectively.
7. According to 2019 monthly millennial spending habits, this generation spends an average of $187 and $139 on groceries and restaurants, respectively.
(FoodNavigator) (New York Post)
Seen annually, that’s $2,242 on groceries and $1,672 on dining out. Estimates point to Gen Y spending an average of $2,300 per year more than older generations on key items such as groceries, eating out, coffee, and phone bills.
8. Millennial spending habits in 2020 changed due to the pandemic. 60% cut their spending between March and April.
This is in line with the overall American change in spending habits (61%).
Groceries were on the top of the list of expenses (40% of millennials increased shopping for fruits and veggies). Next in line were increased demand for alcohol (by 13%), restaurants (8%), and health and beauty products (3%).
Furthermore, 30% of millennials increased their online spending habits, and 48% increased their food and grocery spending due to the pandemic.
9. Based on the millennial shopping statistics, the least amount of money is spent on alcohol, pets, and car insurance.
Generation Y spends merely $1.57 a day on alcohol, $1.24 on pets, and $2.36 on car insurance.
This might not be the result of lower income, as presumed in the past, but more likely because fewer millennials own cars and pets or drink alcohol.
10. Millennial home buying statistics show they make the largest share of buyers — 38%.
Based on the first-time home buyers stats, millennials were also the leaders in this segment, compared to other age groups. In other words, 86% of younger and 52% of older millennials are first-time home buyers.
The highest percentage of buyers are married (67%), followed by 21% of unmarried couples. On the other hand, the Silent generation has the lowest shares of home buyers—6%.
Nonessentials and Millennial Consumer Behavior
On what do millennials usually spend their money when it comes to nonessential expenses?
11. 61% of millennials believe now is the right time to start thinking about investments.
70% of millennials younger than 30 and 55% of millennials over 30 want to learn how to invest. 1 in 5 have plans to start investing due to the pandemic and the current situation on the stock market.
Men are 10% more likely than women to start learning about investments (82% vs. 72%).
12. Millennials don’t mind spending more to keep up with trends.
Stats on the millennial buying behavior show that 79% would pay more to eat at a hot restaurant, 69% would buy clothes they don’t actually need, and 60% of Gen Y would spend more than $4 on coffee.
13. Millennials spend about $478 on nonessential purchases each month.
Consumer spending on nonessential items, such as luxury goods, entertainment, and vacations, is higher for Generation Y than what boomers ($359) spend a month, millennial spending habits for 2019 indicate. But not Gen Xers ($587).
14. Millennials spend an average of $5,700 on travel.
(BHTP) (Business Insider) (Travel Age West)
Before the pandemic, taking an average of five trips in 2018 and traveling around 35 days a year made millennials the most traveled of all age groups.
What’s more, 63% of surveyed millennials and zoomers are keen on traveling in 2021. When it comes to destination, 41% choose Europe, 11% want to visit Asia, and 77% are looking forward to domestic traveling.
Also, Gen Y says that if they had more, they would spend the money from their credit cards on traveling rather than saving.
15. How much do millennials spend on clothes? About $1,950 per year.
Millennials care, above all, about the brand’s transparency and authenticity. In fact, 66% of them are even prepared to pay more money for sustainable clothing, whereas 42% want to know how the clothes have been made before deciding to buy them.
The fashion industry needs to be aware that Gen Y prefers unique, durable, and quality clothing.
16. Millennials spend about $200 less on alcohol and tobacco than Gen Xers.
(SmartAsset) (Grocery Dive)
Millennial shopping habits show Gen Y is all about healthy living. In a like manner, 63% of them are trying to include plant-based food in their diets, and they paid 14% more on organic food and drinks in 2018 compared to the year before.
17. Millennials spent a whopping $7 billion a year on health club membership.
If this is not a testimony to millennial spending power in 2019, what is? What’s more, millennials made up 33% of health club members, the biggest share of all age groups (next in line were Gen Xers at 24% and boomers with 22%).
US adults between 24 and 39 years of age spend more on athletic apparel and footwear, too. While total spending on clothes dropped between 2008 and 2013, this generation spent an increasing amount on sports clothes and sneakers.
18. Millennials spend about $112 on video games on a monthly basis, which is much more than other generations.
The spending power by generation data shows Gen Y spends more money on games than any other age group. In fact, 2 in 3 millennials in the US play video games every month.
60% of millennials prefer playing console games (PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch), 30% are PC gamers, while 81% fancy mobile games.
As the first generation of gamers, it’s no surprise that a staggering 71% of millennials, when not playing, watch video game content on YouTube or Twitch.
19. Millennial spending habits in the UK show this age group spent about £213 ($292.76) on their gardens amidst the pandemic.
According to the stats, British gardens flourished during the pandemic. Out of all age groups, Gen Y, the well-known plant parents, spent the most money on their gardens to improve their overall wellbeing.
This is probably owing to the fact they are the generation with the youngest offspring. During the lockdown, 20% of millennials planned or already purchased a BBQ and garden toys for their children.
20. Millennials prefer to rent than to buy.
(Business Insider) (CNBC)
According to millennial finance statistics, Generation Y is choosing other options over purchasing a car (53% of millennials spend money on taxis and Ubers), renting clothes instead of buying them, and streaming services instead of paying for cable TV.
All in the name of living the life they want without being burdened by ownership or spending more than they can afford.
21. 39.1% of millennials get their shopping inspiration from Instagram.
(PR Newswire) (Kibo)
Millennial consumer trends in 2020 were closely linked to social media that has a significant influence on their buying decisions.
The brand’s social media presence is one of the most important aspects for Gen Y. 75% of them will make their buying decisions based on the brand’s presentation on social media, whereas 73.9% believe brands need to show they are pro-diversity and pro-equality.
22. 66% of Generation Y would turn to another brand if it offered at least a 30% discount, millennial spending statistics reveal.
It’s not surprising that a generation that lived through the 2008 recession would be frugal with money.
But, despite being on the lookout for the best prices, millennials also value social responsibility — 75% of this age group believes that it’s important for brands to give back to society and the community.
23. According to a 2019 survey, 30% of millennials always use coupons.
88% of the Gen Y uses paperless coupons, thus combining their love of discounts and technology.
24. 86.2% of millennials in the US were digital buyers in 2020, stats on millennial shopping trends reveal.
(Statista) (PR Newswire)
Millennials are the new leaders in e-commerce. Not only are they comfortable in buying clothes, gadgets, and groceries, but they would also be agreeable to buy a home online.
In other words, 59% of millennials would be somewhat confident to buy a house they saw via a virtual tour. This may lead to changes in the real estate sector as digitalization takes over the market.
25. More than three-quarters of millennials follow trends.
How to use millennial buying power to boost sales? Through online reviews and social media presence.
That said, 90% of millennials read online product reviews from other customers, while 68% report being heavily influenced by social media posts. Moreover, 84% say user-generated content affects their purchase decisions.
Take into consideration that 60% of millennials will ask their friends for advice before deciding to buy a particular product.
Millennial Buying Power Statistics
Are millennials financially stable?
26. Nearly two-thirds of millennials say they are living from one paycheck to the next, but 34% said they had a written financial plan.
Talking about millennial money management, only 38% of this generation say they feel financially stable. In fact, millennials feel the most insecure about their personal finances from all the age groups surveyed.
27. Millennial spending power in 2020 reached about $1.4 trillion.
(Endear) (Statista) (Statista)
In other words, their disposable income is $1.4 trillion. Millennials are the largest group of consumers today, especially when it comes to online shopping.
For example, 86.2% of millennials were digital buyers in 2020, followed by 79.2% of Generation X and 62.1% of Boomers.
A large percentage of millennials spend money on beauty and personal care products. 34% of their beauty products were purchased via Amazon, drug stores (36%), and mass merchandisers (68%). They are also heavily motivated by influencers and celebrity bloggers.
28. A quarter of millennials have saved at least $100,000.
(New York Post)
This is up from the 8% who had this amount in savings just six years ago, data on millennials and money shows.
29. Millennials start saving for retirement earlier than other age groups.
Not only did millennials start saving at an earlier age — 23 as opposed to boomers who began saving for retirement when they were 40 — they are also less likely to dip into their savings.
70% of this generation follows a savings plan, and as many as 78% say they stick to their spending budget.
30. Gen Y has an average of $27,900 in personal debt, without the mortgages, millennial spending statistics indicate.
(BuzzFeed News) (CNBC)
They might have debt, but they are more optimistic about repaying it. Of the 40% of this generation who think they will be debt-free in five years, one in ten believes they will write off their debt in less than a year.
That said, only 7% of millennials believe that they will die in debt.
31. Millennials allocate around 35.7% of their monthly income on rent alone.
(CNBC) (Apartment List) (RENTCafé)
Millennial spending statistics show that despite paying an incredible $92,600 in rent by the time they turn 30, 69% of Generation Y members said they plan to rent forever because they can’t afford other options.
32. 74% of millennials in the US can’t afford to buy a home.
The main reason behind this is the 20% down payment, the high prices of houses, and student loan debts.
Although millennials are no strangers to saving by using any means necessary, 21% believe that buying a home is too risky for their financial state, while 34% prefer renting flexibility.
How much money do millennials spend?
Millennials spend an average of $208.77 a day, which is about $44 more than what the average American spends daily (i.e., about $164.55), according to the most recent statistics.
Most money is spent on housing (about $34.78 per day), groceries ($10.89 per day), and dining out ($9.36 per day). Millennials spend the least of their money on alcohol ($1.57 per day) and their pets ($1.24 per day). Vehicle insurance costs a bit more — $3.26 per day.
How much money do millennials spend online?
Millennials spend about $75 per online visit. What’s more, they hold the highest percentage when it comes to digital shopping compared to other age groups—86.2%
What do they buy the most? Beauty and personal care products, like natural skin and natural hair care products.
Gen Y grew up during the internet revolution, and they have fully embraced digital shopping. Therefore, it makes sense that they spend more online.
How much do millennials spend on clothing?
As of May 2018, millennials spend an average of $1,950 on clothes a year. They might pay less than boomers ($101.1 vs. $172.6 per transaction), but they make twice as many annual apparel purchases.
Their favorite brands include Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Vans, Under Armour, Supreme, and Converse. In addition to that, Gen Y prefers to buy eco-friendly products.
What percentage of consumers are millennials?
Millennials make up the largest group of consumers in the US—22%. In 2020 alone, their spending power reached $1.4 trillion.
Unlike other age groups, Gen Y spends more money on technology and restaurants. However, groceries, clothes, and hobbies are still their number one priority.
It’s expected that millennials will represent the largest group of consumers until 2031 when they will be surpassed by Gen Z.
Which generation has the most spending power?
When compared to other age groups, millennials currently have the highest spending power — $1.4 trillion. Likewise, Gen Y is more impulsive than other generations when it comes to shopping. 64% often make impulse purchases, and 70% regret spending their money on a whim.
Millennials are highly influenced by social media. 39.1% take inspiration from Instagram, and 73.9% argue that brands need to show they are pro-diversity and pro-equality.
How much money do millennials spend on food?
Millennials spend an average of $885 on miscellaneous foods. Only Gen X ($1,156) and Baby Boomers ($981) spend more money on food than millennials. In contrast, Silent Generation ($693) and Gen Z ($469) spend less.
Gen Y spends approximately 53.2% of their money on homemade food ($4,114) and 46.8% on food away from home ($3,626).
Final Take on Millennial Spending Statistics
These facts may not be sufficient to define an entire generation, but analyzing the way millennials spend their money is a step closer towards understanding this age group and realizing that they aren’t some alien species whose spending habits and routines are beyond comprehension.
Millennials may not be the greatest generation in size or spending power, but they are certainly the most influential. And if we look at how millennial spending statistics affect the market, we’ll see exactly why.
- Apartment List
- Apartment Therapy
- Business Insider
- Business Insider
- Business Insider
- Buxton Co
- BuzzFeed News
- The Expert Editor
- Grocery Dive
- New York Post
- PR Newswire
- PR Newswire
- PR Newswire
- Property Reporter
- The Brookings Institution
- The Economist
- Travel Age West