9 Top 2019 Millennials Money Trends

By Jackie Lam
December 30, 2019

Are you a millennial?

If so, when someone makes a comment about how you still haven’t got hitched or asks if you have a serious thing for avocado toast, you might be tempted to respond with “What can I say? I’m just a millennial.”

Worse yet, if someone asks you if you’re still living with your parents, you might just give him a dismissive shrug or eyeroll. As a fellow Millennial, I can attest to how annoying it is to be stereotyped. But let’s face it: Whether we like it or not, we’re grouped together by generation. Granted, there are distinctions among individuals, but studies reveal general trends. 

When it comes to how we spend and save money, it can be interesting and insightful to see how we stack up against say, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Zers. (Note, per the Pew Research Center, people born between 1981 and 1996 are considered Millennials.)

For example, according to Accenture data on millennial shoppers, we’re on track to spend $1.4 trillion in 2010. As millennials represent about a quarter of households in America, how we spend our money matters big-time. What’s more, it shows much spending power we have as a generation.

Saving and spending habits 

Per a recent Nielsen report on millennial shopping habits, Millennials spend an average of $57 per shopping trip, which is more than any other generation. However, because they shop less frequently, they spend less overall. 

Each shopper spends a total of $5,716 a year shopping, which is less per year than Generation X and Boomers.

By now you may be wondering: What are the top money trends among millennials? Let’s take a look, shall we?


Interestingly enough, millennials spend two-thirds as much as Baby Boomers and Gen Xers on entertainment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). On average, they spend $2,186.07, whereas Generation Xers spend $3,230.98 and Baby Boomers spend $3,286.14.

Subscription services

Millennials are also using subscription services in lieu of shopping trips to brick and mortar stores. Per a UPS study, 54% make their purchase online, and only 11% of Millennials surveyed said they will make their next purchase in a physical store. 

So, instead of shopping for groceries at the nearby supermarket, we millennials might have groceries dropped off at our doorstep, or subscribe to a meal delivery service. This could also be the case for anything from makeup to gadgets to vitamin supplements. 

Beauty and cosmetics
With health and beauty products, millennials tend to trust friends and social media, according to the Nielsen survey.

What’s more, they’re more inclined to check online reviews than consult with their tribe. So you might say that those beauty and health Instagram influencers and YouTube vloggers can have a bit of clout.

Health and wellness

We millennials are driving the health craze. We’re keen on products made of organic ingredients and free of additives and preservatives. We swear by kombucha and our whole food protein bars. 

Per the Nielsen report, we’re more inclined to buy products that make claims to healthy living. Think: “simple ingredients,” “organic,” “GMO free,” and “probiotic.”

Online shopping

This might come as no surprise to anyone, but according to the Nielsen report, millennials are leading the charge with shopping online. 

Speaking of online shopping habits, we millennials spend more time on social media than older generations, according to the Nielsen report. We also spend more time researching common products online.

Before we head over to the store to buy, say, cleaning products or food, we likely will do some poking around on the Internet. 

What’s more, per a UPS survey on industrial buying dynamics, millennials are more inclined to gather information from a bevy of online sources — from blogs, videos, apps to social media. Boomers, on the other hand, tend to stick to websites rather than apps or social media. 

Social media

According to the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper survey, millennials are more engaged across the board when it comes to social media consumption. This includes everything from Snapchat, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. 

In turn, social media is a more integral part of the retail experience for millennials. We’re more open making purchases through social media, and are more willing to share personal information to enhance our shopping experience.

Among other generations, three in 10 say that social media has influenced their buying decisions, and two in 10 have bought something on social media. However, among millennials, one out of two surveyed in the UPS survey say that social media influences what they buy. What’s more, one out of three bought something through a social media site. 

Deal-driven shopping 

Per the Neilsen report, it turns out that millennials are more likely to buy items that are already a great value instead of swooping in on a deal.

For instance, buying in bulk, purchasing generic versions instead of name brand items, or shopping at a chain that offers consistently low prices.

What’s more, millennials tend to skip convenience stores, and fork their money over at value retailers and grocery chains. 

Social impact spending

Aligning values with dollars is important for millennials. Per the Nielsen survey, we’re more willing to spend on socially conscious brands. In fact, we’re 70% more likely to buy from a brand that handled a social issue well. Interestingly enough, we’re also less likely to “punish” a brand if they were neutral on a social issue. 

Better habits mean more money in the bank 

Money habits provide an inside look at how and why you spend. Likewise, your habits can help you develop better habits, and thus help you save on the regular and grow your money. 

And, as long as you’re learning how to save money, consider switching to a fee-free bank like Chime.

Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based financial writer whose clients include Fortune 500 companies and FinTech startups. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Business Insider, and GOOD.

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