We asked young consumers what they know they want to buy this year (and their top responses won’t fit in a shopping bag)…
Gen Z and Millennials current combined annual spending power is $3 trillion, according to YPulse’s data. Millennials have the more significant spending power, with an estimated $2.5 trillion, but Gen Z teens (13-18-year-olds) wield a massive yearly spending power of their own at $34 billion. And contrary to a popular narrative, these young consumers aren’t just killing products and companies. Already Millennials are outspending older consumers in many areas, and their buying preferences have the power to make or break industries, with travel, fast casual dining, houseplants, seltzer and skincare just a few of the industries they’ve been credited for boosting. Meanwhile, Gen Z is are influencing their households’ purchases at incredibly young ages, over half of 19-37-year-old parents say they are influenced by their kids’ request when purchasing items for them.
To dig even further into what young consumers’ spending could look like in the year to come, YPulse’s most recent survey of young consumers asked 13-37-year-olds, “What is one thing you know you want to buy in 2020?” Here are their top responses:
What They Want to Buy in 2020
- car / vehicle
- house / apartment
- shoes / boots
- gaming console
- Air Pods / Headphones
- video games
- vacation / travel
- home décor
Cars, houses, and smartphones are at the top of the ranking of items that Gen Z and Millennials want to buy this year. Of course, Millennials were more likely than Gen Z teens to say that they want to buy a house or apartment—that didn’t come up on the younger generation’s top 5 list—but car/vehicle was at the top of the ranking for 13-18-year-olds, 19-25-year-olds, and 26-37-year-olds. Whether upgrading their current ride, buying their dream car, or finally getting their own rides so they can get to work or school without relying on others, cars are top of mind for a lot of young consumers. According to YPulse data, they’re more likely to buy a used car than a new one, and prioritize reliability and efficiency over other bells and whistles.
Of course, we are talking about the things that they want to buy, so not everyone who said they want to car or house this year will actually be able to. But the ranking speaks to both generation’s priorities, as well as serving as yet another reminder that they are not rejecting these milestone purchases, they’ve just delayed them—and many aren’t delaying any longer.
Already, in 2018 Millennials were the largest group of home buyers at 37%, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers. Some are saying this indicates the generation’s “delay in … homebuying is over,” according to The Washington Post. The Toll Brothers’ earnings report shows that 2019 was the year more young buyers invested in a house, and 20% of closings had one buyer under 35-years-old. As we’ve noted, several experts are predicting that Millennial spending is on an upswing, and the CEO of Smead Capital Management, tells CNBC that the generation will trigger an economic “changeover point” as they shift their spending and buy houses and cars instead of “Apple devices, craft beer and Chipotle burritos.” Millennials were projected to outnumber Boomers as the largest living generation this year, and it’s true that their spending power is huge—and though YPulse data shows that many could continue to delay those big ticket milestones, they remain top goals that the generation is working towards.
Many Millennials who told us they want to buy a house or apartment in 2020 explained that they’re starting or growing their families, and need more space. Others told us that they’ve always dreamed of owning a home, and that they’re tired of renting. Will all of those who say they want to buy at house in 2020 be able to? Maybe not, but they’re increasingly realizing their dreams, and more than ever before will be tackling these big milestone purchases. Looking at the list, filling their homes and personal spaces is also a priority: furniture, home décor, and appliances all made the top 20 ranking.