Millennials Aren't Cheap, They're Thrifty

The generation, now the largest in the country, has an annual spending power of $600 billion and each member spends an estimated $85 per day.

BY BLOOMBERGOCTOBER 28, 2016 13:00

NEW YORK, United States — Presented with the option of becoming a Kardashian or saving some dough, millennials overwhelming pick Benjamin over Kim. The notoriously debt-ridden and underemployed generation is apparently more broke than fame-hungry.

This generation, now the largest in the country, has an annual spending power of $600 billion and each member spends an estimated $85 per day. But faced with unrelenting student debt and an uncertain job market, they do not spend lightly. The e-commerce platform Hollar surveyed more than 1,000 Americans in an effort to determine just how tight-fisted millennials are.

Those polled overwhelmingly agreed that stereotypically millennial achievements, like having a large social media following or getting matched with all their Tinder crushes, were less important than saving money. Even sleep was also less important than money: 71 percent of millennials polled said they would rather never pay full price while shopping again than be able to sleep in at their leisure.

But this does not make millennials cheap; it makes them value and price conscious.

Asked to name the key factor in a beauty product purchase, millennial women polled for an April 2015 Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst report overwhelming said value. And finding such a product is worth the hassle: 71 percent of millennials will go online to compare prices before making a purchase and over half have compared prices while in the store.

Millennials are also beginning to splurge a bit. Forty-two percent of millennials told Gallup they spend more now than they did a year ago, compared with 37 percent of Americans of all ages, according to a May report. In particular, rent and leisure activity spending went up for this demographic.

Occasionally, shopping itself becomes the leisure activity: 39 percent of millennials have gone shopping just for fun.

By Polly Mosendz; editor: Josh Petri.

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