Gen Y interested in music festivals not mortgages

Young adults prefer to spend their money on life experiences rather than material goods, study suggests.
Woman attends Burning Man music festival

A young woman attends Burning Man music festival in the US. PHOTO: Facebook/ Burning Man.

NO longer content with a house in the suburbs, the so-called millennials, or people aged between 18 and 34, are thrill seekers wanting to squeeze the zest out of life and have no problem spending their dosh accordingly.

A new survey of millennials by Harris Poll has found that 78 per cent of them would rather spend money on a desirable experience than buy desirable goods.

Strengthening that argument, 72 per cent of millennials also said over the next year they wanted to allocate more spending on experiences rather consumption of physical things.

With the rise of social media, researchers suggest that this younger generation feels new pressure to seek first-hand experiences due to the FOMO phenomenon, or ‘Fear Of Missing Out’.

While FOMO is perceptual and people have always missed out on a better time somewhere else, millennials are bombarded with up-to-the-minute Instagram photos, Facebook check-ins, live tweets and online posts that draw their focus away from the present and toward happenings that they aren’t a part of.

The study also found that 69 per cent of those surveyed said they felt engaging in identity-shaping experiences helped them to connect better with their friends, their peers, the community and people around the world.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, millennials now account for about $1.3 trillion in annual consumer spending and US company Eventbrite, the online ticketing firm which sponsored the study, said that this generation was the leading force in a new economy – the Experience Economy.

“We know from our research that engaging in experience helps millennials form a sense of identity, differently from how other generations defined identity at their same age,” says Eric Meyerson, head of Consumer Insights at Eventbrite.

While the Harris Poll study was restricted to just over 500 respondents, its findings reinforce a major report by the Boston Consulting Group in 2012 where millennials were characterised by their idealism, egocentrism, tech savvy and aspiration to live in the moment.

Meyerson, whose company places a huge emphasis on events like music festivals, said that while these experiences don’t come cheap, millennials believe the cost of missing out is too much to bear.

“In a world where life experiences are broadcasted across social media, the fear of missing out drives millennials to show up, share and engage,” said Meyerson.

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