“Millennial Myths and Realities”, Ipsos Mori’s new misconception-busting report, is a generational analysis framed as a quantitative antidote to the lazy headlines that often characterise westerners born between 1980 and 1995.
Although some conclusions are unsurprising, such as the insight that this generation is defined by its experience of prolonged economic stagnation and pervasive technological change, others are more arresting:
- Despite assertions that Millennials are committed to an expansive definition of “wellness”, in England less than half (48%) of 26 year olds have a healthy weight, despite doing more exercise than their forebears. Compared to previous generations, this represents a significant long-term health challenge that even widespread adoption of health-monitoring technology will struggle to address.
- The first modern generation to be worse off than their parents will continue to struggle economically, as chronic under-saving for retirement correlates with diminishing disposable income. The pension pot required for 20 years of comfortable retirement in the UK stands at 350% of the median estimate of surveyed Millennials. Each generation since the post-war Baby Boomers has underestimated their pension needs by progressively wider margins, so Generation Z (those born since 1995) are unlikely to ease growing demographic and economic pressures on pension provision.
- In emerging markets Millennials expect to enjoy better economic prospects and broader opportunity, with 65% expecting to live a better life than their parents, compared to 37% in the west. This underlines the pressure for political leaders in those countries to deliver growth and jobs. In the medium term, disruptive automation could undermine this confidence and drive social and political unrest.
Millennials are now the largest and most economically important generation in the US and many other markets, so insights into the cohort’s attitudes and situation are consequential for businesses throughout the insurance value chain. The full report can be found here: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/millennial-myths-and-realities
‘Millennials’ is an abused term, misused to the point where it’s often mistaken for just another meaningless buzzword. But its original and conventional use is far from empty.‘Millennials’ is a working title for the c.15-year birth cohort born around 1980-1995, which has unique, defining traits. Unfortunately, many of the claims made about millennial characteristics are simplified, misinterpreted or just plain wrong, which can mean real differences get lost. Equally important are the similarities between other generations – the attitudes and behaviours that are staying the same are sometimes just as important and surprising.