Millennials, Religion, and Spirituality - Their Story In 5 Stats

Young consumers’ relationship with religion isn’t as simple as you might think. We surveyed 18-34-year-olds to find out how important religion is, and what they believe right now…

A quick scan of headlines about Millennials and religion might have you thinking that the generation has rejected it, en masse. In the last months alone, there’s been:  “Millennials turning away from faith,” “Why Millennial Women Are Embracing Atheism,” “Ten reasons Millennials are backing away from God and Christianity,” “And Then There Were Nones: How Millennials' Flight From Religion Is Transforming American Politics,” and even, “Witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal Millennials.” But the idea that Millennials are “turning their backs” on religion is likely an oversimplification of their beliefs.

To get a more clear understanding of the generation’s relationship with religion and spirituality, our recent survey asked them everything from their thoughts on religion versus spirituality to whether they believe in God, what role religion plays in their daily lives, and more. From that research, we know that Millennials’ view of religion is hardly cut and dry, and though they may be less traditionally religious than previous generations, there is plenty they still believe in. Here’s a snapshot of Millennials, religion, and spirituality, in five stats:

1. 44% say that religion is important to them, 37% say it is not

The number of Millennials who say that religion is important to them outpaces the number who say it is not—by a small margin. But there is a larger story at work here as well. According to a Pew study, all Americans are moving away from religion. The percentage of adults who consider religion “very important” to them and pray daily declined 3% to 4% from 2007 to 2015. But “skepticism…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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