Millennials are driving change. Spending trends reveal that they are an ethical group, concerned with environmental protection, and health-conscious behaviors. They choose Whole Foods over fast food, and flavored wine over wheat-based beer. From paper napkins to diamonds, it seems a wide range of industries will be affected as Millennials surpass Baby Boomers in purchasing power.
Not surprisingly, savvy Millennials look for value in their investments, and in 2016 they were the largest demographic of home-buyers. However, there is a twist. Millennials have a special reason for purchasing homes, according to the American Kennel Club.
I Bought this House For My Dog
While some people purchase for investments, and others to start a family, Millennials are buying homes for their dogs. The AKC cited a Harris poll taken of new homeowners, and their reasons for purchasing a new home. According to the study, 33 percent of Millennial homeowners bought a house so their dogs would have more space to roam, particularly a yard. By comparison, marriage was only the driving force for 25 percent of Millennials homeowners, and children fell far behind with only 19 percent citing them as motivation for getting a home.
That might seem like unusual behavior, but for the millennial generation it’s anything but. Millennials have traditionally pushed marriage down the list of priorities, choosing to live with partners for longer before tying the knot. Having kids is similarly lower on the list of priorities, because millennials understand better than anyone how expensive it can be to care for kids. However, as the product of the Great Recession, millennials also seek comfort and stability in their lives. And what is more stable or comforting than a dog? Someone who is always happy to see you, and who loves you unconditionally?
Other data backs up the close relationship millennials have with their dogs. When compared to baby boomers, and members of Generation X, millennials were more likely to buy presents for their pets (toys, treats, etc.), and they were more likely to take their pets to the vet more often. Sure signs that, for millennials, the quality of life their pets experience is important. And, perhaps most tellingly, millennials own the most pets now, surpassing previous generations in the sheer volume of animal companions they have.
Deciding What Matters
Millennials have confused so many businesses because the things they value seem so drastically different from previous generations. In many ways that’s true. However, understanding that value and thrift are at the core of millennial spending habits is key to making sense of why they do what they do. They understand value, and they want to know what they get out of every dime they spend. A status symbol doesn’t matter to them, and they have no interest in the luxuries and leisure of older generations… they want what they want, and they’re not shy about paying for it. Which often means that older, more established trends get thrown right out the window.
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