Millennials are the new face of the family—here are five things they’re doing as parents right now…
Everything you know about Millennial spending habits is about to change, because they’re increasingly taking on their new roles as moms and dads. According to Crowdtap, about 80% of 18-35-year-olds are on track to become parents over the next decade. The era of Millennial parenting has begun. In 2014, 82.7% of children born were born to a Millennial mom, and a reported 90% of new mothers in 2015 were Millennials. According to Ypulse data, currently 8% of 21-24-year-olds, 20% of 25-29-year-olds, and 49% of 30-33-year-olds are self-reported parents. This new stage in life means they could increasingly be looking to own homes instead of rent, and buy cars instead of ubering—in fact, Millennials already made up 28% of the new-car market last year. They will also be choosing healthier options when it comes to dining and grocery shopping, giving way for businesses like Whole Foods and Starbucks to thrive with the health-conscious, convenience-seeking next-gen parent.
We’ve continued to help brands understand how Millennial parents are behaving, what they want, and the different approaches brands are taking to appeal to them. Here are five new things to know about how the new generation of parents is shaping up:
Millennial parents are getting by with a little—ok, maybe a lot—of help from their own parents. A TD Ameritrade survey has found that 19-37-year-olds who have kids get $11,000 on average from their parents through financial support or unpaid labor, and more than half get assistance through childcare or housekeeping weekly. But the assistance isn’t one-sided: three-quarters of 50-70-year-olds with Millennial children say they’re glad to help, and four in ten Millennials say they help their parents too, with an average of $2000 in 2016.
Helicopter parenting, which in many ways has defined the Millennial generation, may be going out of style as they themselves become parents. A new Viacom global study found that 75% of parents of two-five-year-olds believe children should be learning through their own experiences. Researchers say the shift in parenting style is “slightly away from a more sheltered style of parenting to an ideology wherein parents prepare preschoolers for life in an uncertain world.” A 2016 Ypulse survey also found that 88% of Millennial parents agree “I am trying or will try to avoid being a ‘helicopter parent.'” Meanwhile, the arguments for free-range parenting continue, and as we once suggested, Millennials may raise children who are given the illusion of freedom, while their parents have the comfort of constantly monitoring their well-being via technology.
Of course Millennial parents are more open to new technologies than previous generations—it’s in their nature—but that doesn’t mean they’re devouring every parenting gadget on the market. On one hand, there is evidence that they’re embracing the Internet of Things. A study from Interactive Advertising Bureau found that IoT device owners are likely to be 18-34-year-old, college-educated parents who earn a household income above $50,000, and a recent BabyCenter study says it’s all about simplifying parenting. Along with “making life easier” and “saving time,” 36% of U.S. parents agree that smart gadgets are proactively making them better parents.
But on the other hand, despite being created with the Millennial parent in mind, baby tech is “still in its teething phase.” The Baby Tech Summit at CES this year showcased thousands of companies offering the latest products for high-tech nurseries—and Statista reports a $67 billion estimate in global baby care sales this year. But according to GfK, electronics accounted for less than 9% of baby product sales in 2015. Some are blaming price points and Millennial parents’ desire to protect children from too much tech (screen time, etc.) for the slow start.
Millennial parents are putting more money in their children’s college fund than older generation parents. A study by Sallie Mae found that parents aged 35 years or younger have saved an average of $20,155 for higher education, while Boomers have saved $18,323 and Gen Xers have saved $12,428. The survey also found that saving for college has increased by 48% from last year, with 57% of parents with children under the age of 18 saving this year. Analysts say that “Millennial parents place more of a priority on the college experience” than previous generations, and are placing more importance on helping their kids avoid student debt.
Millennials have embraced streaming as their main entertainment source, so it only makes sense that Millennial parents are training the next generation of streaming viewers. Netflix has gone from producing 100 hours of original TV shows and movies in 2013 to almost 600 hours in 2016, with the kids category as a major contributor. Many streaming players like Amazon, Hulu, and HBO have also focused in on children’s programming, mostly driven by their ad-free nature. For parents, having fewer commercials eases their worries that their children may be shaped by messaging. Streaming services are also more convenient for parents concerned with what kids may “find” when given access to cable – Netflix and Hulu give them a heightened sense of control over the content. For these reasons and more, they’re making their kids into streaming viewers: When we asked, a whopping 75% of Millennial parents agreed “My child watches more content on streaming services than cable.”
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