The Uncuttable Digital Apron Strings

no strings attachedIn this season of New Girl, a character's visiting mother threatens to punish him in an incredibly convincing way: by no longer paying for his cell phone. The character, Winston, is nearing 30-years-old, otherwise financially independent, and living with roommates; but his continued presence on his family plan is more true to life than comic relief. Many Millennials stay on their family cellphone plans and shared entertainment accounts with their parents footing the bill, even when making other steps toward independence.
 
Wall Street Journal article on the subject earlier this week tells us that 29% of parents of 18-to-35-year-olds continue to pay for their cellphone service even after the kids have moved out. Citing everything from empty nest syndrome to enjoying the access to the entertainment preferences of their young ones, the Boomer perspective is clearly laid out: the prolonged family plan keeps the connection to their kids alive. On top of this, the concept of cellphone and entertainment account independence is a completely new arena. Boomers themselves didn't have to contend with this as a right-of-passage, so they may not see cutting digital ties as a necessary step their own kids need to take on the road to adulthood. But how do Millennials feel about keeping their digital apron strings tied tight well into their 20s and 30s? 
 
In his Huffington Post response to the WSJ article, Danny Rubin posits that if your parents are still paying for your cellphone you are not a true adult, and for Millennials who are managing the onslaught of adulthood with a combination of anxiety and procrastination, that might not be such a bad thing. After all, being a grown-up is scary stuff, and even a small continued reliance on family is something of a comfort.
 
But it might not just…

 
 
Ask Millennials some questions.
Log in to get started...

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “My dream car has always been a Chevy Silverado. After I have paid off all of my debt including student loans I will save to pay cash for the truck I want. I have a 3 1/2 year plan to pay off my debt and if I then take the money I am paying towards my debts and keep saving I should be able to buy my truck 1 year after that.” –Female, 22, OR

The mall doesn’t hold the same place in American culture it did twenty years ago, but it may still play a role in teen shopping tastes. A Teen Vogue survey reports that teen girls still like shopping in malls, with 65% of 16-26-year-old females saying they will do the majority of their holiday shopping in store. The top reasons they preferred mall shopping to online were seeing products in person, hanging out with friends, and bonding with their moms. (Awww.) 61% say they create their own wishlists by walking through the mall as well. (Chain Store Age)

Start hoarding bourbon. In 2015, the smooth spirit will be more expensive, thanks in large part to its popularity with Millennial consumers. Domestic bourbon sales have increased 36% in five years, and some distilleries are rationing their bottles for the first time since Prohibition. How’s that for the power of the craft cocktail trend? Bacon, that perennially trendy meat, will also continue rise in price. (Deal News)

McDonald’s sales continue to fall, and their problems attracting young consumers have been well documented this year. The number of 19-21-year-olds visiting the chain every month has dropped by 13% since 2011. “Desperate to change its image,” the brand’s latest turnaround plan (is this plan E?) includes self-service kiosks, a trimmed down menu, and a search for a “big idea” that will appeal to young consumers’ interest in social good. (Business Insider)

What did Millennials read online this year? A lot of BuzzFeed. Digiday’s look at 2014 in Millennial media consumption found that 39 million 18-34-year-olds visited BuzzFeed at least once, but traditional publications online are also attracting these younger readers. Over 20 million visited The New York Times, and almost 8 million visited The Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, some “self-proclaimed” Millennial sites like Ozy and Vocativ reportedly “actually attract an older crowd.” (Digiday)

A generation delaying getting married and having children is creating interesting cultural shifts, and some hilariously awkward family moments. When one twenty-something found herself as the only single sibling and was deemed too old to be on her parent’s holiday card, she began to make her own tongue-in-cheek cards “celebrating” her solo, childless status. These hilarious missives, featuring booze and uncomfortable scenes, have gone viral, and she has become a holiday hero of the unmarried. (Mashable)

Have some lingering questions about Millennials that you need answered for an upcoming meeting? That’s what Ypulse is here for. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. (Ypulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies