Spending habits vary depending on a consumer’s generation, and millennial spending statistics show that this generation’s financial choices differ from all other generations before it.
Millennials have been labeled as the biggest spenders over the last few years, notorious for their love of avocado toast, expensive Uber rides, and unnecessary clothes shopping.
They refuse to get married, they’re killing off the diamond and golf industries, home cooking, department stores, and so much more! They’re too entitled and selfish! Or at least, that’s what statistics say.
But are all these accusations true?
Do millennials spend too much money? 62% of them end up living paycheck to paycheck, so there’s a tiny bit of truth here.
The purchasing power of this generation—also called Generation Y—is large and growing, and millennials are slowly becoming the most essential spenders on the market.
So what do millennials want? What are their spending habits? Well, grab your frosé, chai tea latte, or whatever your favorite drink is, and take a look at what millennials want.
Take a quick glance at what you will find below:
Top 10 Millennial Finance Statistics
- There were 72.1 million millennials in the US in 2019.
- The average millennial has less than $5,000 in savings.
- Only 11% of younger and 29% of older millennials were homeowners in 2017.
- Before turning 30, millennials spend a median total of $97,000 on rent.
- One-third of millennials would be willing to spend $5,000 or more on a vacation.
- On average, millennials spend $281 on groceries monthly.
- It’s estimated that 27% of millennials spend nothing on coffee.
- Every month, millennials spend an average of $139 at restaurants.
- 60% of Gen Y doesn’t spend money on gym memberships or exercise equipment.
- 54% of millennials don’t spend money on concerts or sporting events.
Keep reading to discover more about millennial money-spending habits.
Millennials and Money
What is a millennial? Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y, are the nation’s biggest spenders.
They’re born roughly between 1982 and 1996, so a millennial’s age range goes from 24 to 38 years. This means they’re in their prime earning and spending years.
So how many millennials are there, and how do they manage and spend their money?
1. There were 72.1 million millennials in the US in 2019.
(Pew Research Center)
As of July 1, 2019, millennials outnumber baby boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation.
Millennial buying power continues to grow as young immigrants expand their ranks.
It’s estimated that the millennial generation will reach its peak in 2023, at 74.9 million in population.
2. In 2018, millennials with a bachelor’s degree or higher and a full-time job earned a median income of $56,000.
(Pew Research Center)
Individual earnings for young workers have been the same for the last 50 years. However, education levels are making a significant gap in earnings between millennials with higher or lower degrees.
The median millennial income for those with some college or less was $36,000.
3. The average millennial has less than $5,000 in savings.
Now, this isn’t due to bad millennial money management, but because of humongous student loans and credit card debt. This often makes millennials and saving money completely incompatible.
And despite their best efforts to save money and not carry credit card debt, most millennials have no money as a result of the Great Recession combined with high living costs.
4. Millennial income statistics reveal that 65% of the generation can’t afford to save for medical emergencies.
Millennials take their health seriously and don’t shy away from asking for professional help.
However, in this case, millennials and finances don’t go well together.
The generation is opting for less expensive healthcare options, like pursuing online alternatives instead of visiting a doctor.
5. 33% of donations on crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or YouCaring come from millennials.
As we said, money and millennials may not be two relatable terms, but Gen Y gives a lot to charity, even though they’re broke.
At a time when the population faces an unemployment rate reaching 4.1%, they’re giving anything they can to help others in need.
They’re far more likely to donate food, clothes, and other supplies (41%) instead of money (29%). However, 27% of them also volunteer their time, while 23% even do fundraising through sponsorships and organizing events.
6. Millennial spending power in 2020 has reached $2.5 trillion.
81% of millennials are currently employed with an average $3,100 monthly salary. A more significant number of millennials are aging into adulthood, and it shows in their spending.
So far this year, they’ve been spending more on household items, vehicle maintenance, and pet care.
Furthermore, financial experts predict that Gen Y is also increasing their spending on food and personal care products that help them feel better and improve their mental health.
Millennial Home Buying Trends
Having a successful career, a happy family, and a home are the essential elements of what some call the American dream.
However, affording a home was much easier for previous generations, and millennials who can actually afford to be homeowners today are changing the home-buying norms and processes.
7. Only 11% of younger and 29% of older millennials were homeowners in 2017.
Homeownership is seen as the ultimate success in the US, and this benchmark has never been questioned.
Millennial spending statistics show that not spending money on houses doesn’t mean millennials don’t want to own a home and prefer living with roommates or their families.
As a matter of fact, 80% of millennials plan on buying a house someday. Of course, after they pay off their student loan debt, the economy improves, and they finally can afford one.
8. Before turning 30, millennials spend a median total of $97,000 on rent.
Thanks to skyrocketing costs, today, millennials pay way more for rent than their parents ever did. Most of the disposable income of millennials is spent on rent and utilities.
In fact, millennials between the ages of 22 and 29 paid $97,400 overall for rent in 2017, while millennials over 30 paid slightly less: $93,400.
9. About 30% of millennials who became financially stable in 2019 and want to buy a home plan on spending between $100,000 and $199,999.
Millennials are being cautious and conservative. Another 27% of those surveyed said they plan on spending between $200,000 and $299,999, and only 5% plan on spending $500,000 or more on their new home.
Millennial Spending Habits: Travel
With millennials, it’s all about access, not ownership, and this is why most of them prefer using services like Uber or taxis instead of going into debt to buy a car. On the contrary, they’re more than willing to spend quite a few bucks on traveling and experiencing new cultures.
10. One-third of millennials would be willing to spend $5,000 or more on a vacation.
It doesn’t matter if they live by the YOLO mantra, or just like seeing new places, millennial spending statistics from 2018 reveal that they’re ready to spend the most out of all demographics.
11. They also travel more than any other generation: 35 days per year.
Furthermore, they prefer relaxing, all-inclusive, romantic holidays.
Advertising and social media influence 72% of millennial travelers, but only 19% of them travel outside their country.
They also look for the best deals and would go anywhere that allows them to explore the outdoors and be active.
12. About 80% of millennials own a car.
(QZ) (Smart Cities Dive)
However, millennial car buying trends reveal that this is out of necessity, not desire.
They’re aware of the harm vehicles have on the environment, so 55% of millennials actively try to drive less, and 53% are eager to use car-sharing services.
13. In 2018, most millennials spent $100 per month or more for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft.
Public transportation can often seem worse than the ninth circle of hell, and getting around major metropolitan cities on foot is just hard. Rideshares are a bit pricey, but they’re cheaper than owning and maintaining a car.
Millennial Spending Statistics: Luxuries
It’s no secret that millennials spend money differently than other generations.
They value experiences over having things. They’re not holding back when it comes to indulging in delicious coffee or brunch, and they’re all about the custom-tailored experience.
14. Millennials spend an average of $281 on their monthly groceries.
The average millennial’s grocery spending is significantly lower than people assume.
In fact, some 3% of this generation doesn’t even shop for groceries, as the data on millennial grocery shopping habits shows.
15. It’s estimated that 27% of millennials spend nothing on coffee.
There’s a widespread myth that each and every member of Generation Y spends thousands of dollars on coffee while having $0 in their retirement accounts.
The reality, however, is quite different, as almost one-third of millennials spend nothing on this beverage.
Meanwhile, while those who actually drink coffee spend an average of $38 every month, as this report on millennial spending habits from 2018 reveals.
16. Every month, millennials spend $139 on restaurants on average.
Millennials are all about health, so the fact that they spend 1,400 hours every year cooking food or eating out comes as no surprise. They understand the importance of a tasty and nutritious diet, with cost and nutrient density as their primary concerns.
Everyone and their cat knows that millennials prefer to eat out and are accused of killing the home food industry. The report on millennial spending habits from 2019 additionally shows that this generation eats at a restaurant 90 times per year and attends 41 dinner parties.
Still, their monthly restaurant spending is lower than their grocery bill.
17. 36.2% of millennials take money out of their savings to buy holiday gifts for their friends and family.
On average, they spend $576.39 to please their loved ones, which is admirable, but close to getting out of hand.
Generation Y’s buying behavior includes taking money out of savings accounts, which can possibly lead to debt. And going into debt to buy presents can’t be justified.
18. 60% of Gen Y doesn’t spend money on gym memberships or exercise equipment.
This list is all about busting myths that surround millennials.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of millennials spend nothing at the gym or on gym equipment. Still, a small number of them pay $23 per month on gym or exercise expenses.
Even though millennial spending power was strong in 2019, this generation chose workouts that fit their busy schedules, yoga classes that focused on spirituality or runs in the park.
Millennials not spending money on gyms doesn’t mean they can’t afford it. They simply want a personalized experience.
19. An average millennial spends $18 per month on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.
They also spend an additional $7 on online music streaming services.
Millennial spending habits are quite different than the practices of other generations. In fact, millennials may actually be responsible for pushing out the overpriced cable TV industry.
Gen Y doesn’t want to overpay for cable. They want to have a choice of what they watch and when they watch it.
20. Every month, millennials spend an average of $82 on clothes.
How much do millennials spend on clothes?
This is the most common question among people who don’t belong to Gen Y.
The truth is that they do overspend on clothes a little bit, but 21% of the generation also doesn’t buy unnecessary new clothes.
21. 54% of millennials don’t spend their money on concerts or sporting events.
It’s true that millennials love to spend time with their friends or go to concerts and other events.
However, most of them don’t do that regularly, and those who actually spend money on concerts and events spend $49 on average.
22. What do millennials spend the most money on?
Compared to other generations, millennials spend more on coffee, eating out, and unnecessary clothes.
At the same time, they spend less on gas, travel, television, furniture and building materials, and pharmacies.
23. What is the millennial lifestyle?
Millennials are attracted to traveling for pleasure and investing in themselves.
They challenge traditional consumption patterns, put off significant life milestones, and value passion, happiness, and diversity above all else.
24. Are most millennials in debt?
This is a myth.
Close to 45% of millennials do carry a student loan or some credit card debt. Still, baby boomers are actually in much more debt, even though they make more money than millennials.
25. What are the needs of millennials?
Millennials appreciate convenience and choices. They value experience and like to have a sense of belonging, all while saving up money.
Key Takeaways: Beyond the Pumpkin Spice Lattes
While labeled as materialistic, spoiled, and entitled, members of this generation probably won’t be able to achieve material goals like finding the perfect dream job, buying a house, or retiring until much later in their lives than their parents did.
However, spending is not the culprit here.
Millennial spending statistics reveal that this generation faces systemic financial issues.
Crippling student loans, credit card debt, and low salaries, which can feel overwhelming and keep millennials from living their dream life.