“I’m sick of reading about millennials,” said my millennial colleague. I had to laugh. We all know that a minute can’t pass without an article being written about the complexities of this generation. And yes, you’re reading another one now, though in my defense (I say this with a smile) this article addresses an aspect of the millennial story that’s often missing: the subject of how millennials are approaching life stages differently than previous generations.
Life stage is typically a more accurate predictor of people’s needs and purchasing decisions than their birth dates (with the exception of healthcare-related categories). Millennials often defy the stereotypes traditionally associated with the transition to adulthood, which results in significant economic implications worth studying.
Until recently, traditional milestones for moving from youth to adulthood included experiences such as full-time employment; living independently; marrying; and having children. These markers are changing fast, as many millennials (and older generations, for that matter) remain childless or have children later in life, embrace being single, define relationships more broadly than marriage alone, take “gig economy” jobs and live with their parents or other people well into adulthood. In our work at Female Factor, we study these changing milestones and the impact they have on women’s consumer spending.