Millenials. Gen Y. Those in their 20s and 30s…

According to The Drum, they will account for 75% of the UK workforce in a decade. And with it a huge amount of the consumer spending in the UK.

So what do millennials want? For many companies in the UK, it’s quite literally the billion-pound question.

To find the answer, we recently ran a study asking just that.

The results are pretty surprising, too!

What millenials want

Our study showed just how much millenials are turning away from materialism and traditional measures of success, and instead focusing their (considerable) disposable income on experiences.

In fact 65% of the 18-34 year olds surveyed were driving the “Experience Economy” through buying real life experiences versus possessions. How much does that equate to? Well, we found that millenials spend over £419,556,233 each month on attending live events!

And there’s more to come for the burgeoning Experience Economy. Two thirds (66%) of the study’s respondents said they felt more fulfilled by live experiences than purchasing an item of the same value – and 62% of them plan to increase the amount of money they spend on experiences, instead of possessions, over the next 12 months.

How can you tap into this growing trend?

The answer to this one is simple: FOMO is REAL

Nearly three in four (73%) of respondents agreed that a fear of missing out (FOMO) often drives the need to seek out new activities and experiences: as events and experiences are now being shared on social media immediately and worldwide, FOMO is meaning more millennials are spending on experiences over possessions to be part of that shared conversation.

Therefore to build your company in the new Experience Economy, you need to learn to leverage FOMO.

Property dreams on the backburner?

The desire to experience life to the fullest has even seeped into what has traditionally been a British institution like fish and chips on a Friday – home ownership.

Although 71% of the respondents said they would like to own a home before 35, the same number said the prospect of paying for a mortgage was menacing, with a full 40% of Londoners admitting that they would defer buying a property in order to continue a lifestyle that offered experiences. 59% of the men questioned even said that enjoying experiences was more important to them than ever buying a home.

The experts opinion

Marino Fresch, Head of Marketing for UK & Ireland at Eventbrite said: “Psychological studies have shown that experiences make us happier than possessions. As Eventbrite is the international marketplace for live experiences, we recognise the importance of ‘life moments’ over consumer belongings that can often feel fleeting.

“Our study demonstrates a shift in consumer sentiment – as we enter the busiest time in the retail calendar, the most powerful consumer group in the UK is seeking to spend its hard earned cash on something that cannot be bought in a store.”

Meryl Ferrer, London, 22, agrees: “I work hard all year and prefer to save my money for things that take me away from the norm. Live experiences such as travel, festivals, concerts and sporting events are the things that I really look forward to, and that I’ll always remember. They last much longer than a new dress.”

Cornell psychology professor Thomas Gilovich has carried out several studies into the impact of experiences, and says the happiness gained from live experiences is thanks to the anticipation of the event and the fact that it is most likely to be experienced with other people.

“Live experiences are moments in time that are shared with others, so stay with you forever,” concludes Fresch. “Many millennials have less disposable income than previous generations at the moment and this is making them all the more precious about how they spend their money. Satisfaction comes from spending it on experiences with other people and this economy is booming.”

See our Press Release here.

Further information:

Survey conducted by Ipsos MRBI between 23 October and 3 November 2014.

IPSOS invited 18-34 year olds to take part in the Market Research Survey, recruited via an online panel. Broad quota controls, using the latest census results, were applied to ensure the data is representative of the population in terms of Age, Gender & Region.

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