The Safety Zone Generation

Playing It Safe: Gen Ys and the Caution Effect

The statement that Gen Ys grew up coddled and protected has been used so much by generational experts that it almost feels cliché saying it. But the less-discussed flip side to this over-protection incubation is that Millennials were raised in an environment of high anxiety that taught them from a very early age that there is always something around the corner that could hurt you or go wrong. After all, there was a reason that you couldn’t walk down the street to school by yourself; stranger danger was everywhere. They could very well be called Generation Amber Alert. Add to this early-age hyper-awareness of personal danger the fact that the media they have been surrounded by has essentially been a non-stop loop of terror and highly dramatized fear-mongering-for-ratings and it is understandable that Millennials tend to be an anxious bunch.

Then, when this group of high-risk guarded youth were just starting out on their own, the recession hit and they watched friends and family who had bet big on houses, stocks, and high-stakes careers lose everything. Put all together, you have the perfect equation for a generation with a healthy fear of risk taking. Today, this risk-averse mentality affects how they are living their lives in a major way, from delaying major life decisions to approaching their futures with extreme caution.

Never a generation of rebels (why break the rules when you’re friends with your parents and could break any law you wanted in video games), Millennials today are moving forward in their lives with extreme caution. This general fear of taking big leaps could help explain the fairly drastically delayed ages at which Millennials are choosing to get married and have children when compared to other generations. In some…

 
 

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


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “My 2017 resolution is to improve my dog's confidence- She's somewhat fearful.”—Female, 28, PA

At some malls, teens “have worn our their welcome.” Cases of teens banding together on social media and going to malls to create chaos have reportedly been increasing over recent years. To avoid giving consumers another reason to shop online, some shopping centers—105 in the U.S. according to the International Council of Shopping Centers—have responded by imposing curfews and bans on the young consumers. The legality of such restrictions has been called to question, with the ACLU working to fight discrimination at play. (LA Times)

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. (USA TODAYBusiness Wire)

The NFL is looking outside their traditional playbook to reach young fans. The league has partnered with AwesomenessTV for In The NFL, a new series that “lifts the curtain” to give a behind-the-scenes look at the sport. Since "a 17-year-old girl doesn't want to watch the same content as her mom or her dad,” some episodes have a young female focus, with one starring YouTube stars the Merrell twins taking a tour of a stadium, and another featuring one of the few female owners in the NFL, Kim Pegula, offering career tips to young women. (Adweek)

Can the future generation of shoppers save brick-and-mortar retail? Maybe. A new IBM and National Retail Federation study has revealed that 67% of 13-21-year-olds shop in-store most of the time, while another 31% occasionally buy from them. One analyst notes that their desire for “hands-on experience” is setting their preferences, but lack of credit cards and life stage are also likely forces deterring them from online shopping—and we predict that if fintech solutions are developed with teens in mind it could be a fatal blow for physical teen retailers. (RackedBusiness Wire

The sharing economy may be impacting Millennial spending. Research by Hammerson and retail consultant Verdict found that more than half of Millennials used a sharing economy business like Uber or Airbnb in the last year, compared to 16.2% of those over 35-years-old. Nearly a quarter of Millennials say they aren’t concerned about home ownership and would be content with renting for the rest of their lives, and when compared to those over 35-year-olds, they're two times more likely to agree that there are some products they don’t need to own and would prefer to rent. (Forbes

Quote of the Day: “My 2017 resolution is to live my life the way Carrie Fisher would have wanted me to.”—Female, 21, TX

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