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The Top 12 Things Millennial Women Are Treating Themselves To

What are Millennial women splurging on to treat themselves? We asked…

As we explored in our most recent trend report, “Treat yo’self” has become a motto among Gen Z and Millennials who are looking for the extra encouragement to splurge. Indulgences are being encouraged as they increasingly spread the message that little luxuries are good for their mental health. Over nine in ten young consumers tell us that they like to treat themselves every once in a while, and the majority say that indulgences are part of a healthy lifestyle. From shopping to diet, we explored what their attitudes on indulgences look like now, and how the recession generations are fitting luxuries into their lives—finding that self-care and self-rewards are leading to good, old-fashioned retail therapy.

Brands are (unsurprisingly) embracing young consumers’ treat yo’self attitudes. Positioning products as little luxuries that they should buy “just because” is becoming more common—and 84% of 13-36-year-old females told us that shopping can be self-care. With that mentality in mind, the top things they’re treating themselves to right now present a big opportunity for marketing and sales. We asked 13-36-year-olds, “What was the last thing you treated yourself to?”* and we’re looking at Millennial females’ top responses:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of items that young consumers are treating themselves to—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What Was the Last Thing They Treated Themselves To?
Females 18-36-years-old
  1. Clothes
  2. Food
  3. Beauty / cosmetics
  4. Travel
  5. Dessert
  6. Shoes
  7. Tickets
  8. Dinner
  9. Book
  10. Bag
  11. Spa treatment
  12. Movie

Clothes and food are the top two types of items that Millennial females are treating themselves to, and within those categories, we found some interesting trends. While some respondents specified that they had treated themselves to “nice clothes” or even “new expensive clothes,” the clothes they treated themselves to also included workout gear, a scarf from Walmart, sweatshirts, and leggings. Similarly, under the overall category of “food,” a few women said they had gone out to a nice or expensive meal, but even more explained that they had treated themselves to a fast-food treat. Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Auntie Anne’s, and more indulgent food brands were named. One 19-year-old female told us, “I treated myself to a late night meal at Denny’s,” and another 28-year-old said her last treat was “Take-out while I watched a movie, and worked on craft projects.” The overarching theme here is that splurges don’t have to be high-cost to be considered treats. The top list of things they’re treating themselves to is full of little luxuries, like a dessert, a book, or a movie.

Beauty/cosmetics was the third most popular response among 18-36-year-old females, and their #selfcare and #selfies have been boosting profits in the beauty sector. The Financial Post reports that Ulta Beauty has seen sales surge from $3.9 billion in 2016 to $5.9 billion in 2017, while Sephora revenues “have doubled since 2011.”

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.