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…

 
 

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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I consider luxury items as something that is nice to have, but that I can also live without.”—Female, 23, FL

How has the recession made Millennials reject capitalism? According to a Harvard University survey, 51% of 18-29-year-olds say they do not support capitalism, but it may be that young voters are essentially frustrated by the “flaws of free markets.” When asked about socialism, only 33% said they were in support of the alternative system, making the analysis of the data complex. It is also unclear how the Millennials surveyed define capitalism, since the meaning has shifted throughout the years. According to one pollster, the term once meant freedom from totalitarian regimes, but is now blamed for the financial crisis. (Washington Post

Financial technology startups are narrowing their focus to keep Silicon Valley interested. It is no longer enough for a young company to disrupt the financial industry, they need to think niche to stand out from the competition. Financial start-up Pave targets consumers with a lack of credit history, like college students. Promise Financial provides loans specifically for weddings (which 74% of 18-33-year-olds say have become too expensive), and has partnered with over 100 wedding venues and vendors to offer loans when major purchases are being made. (Wall Street Journal

Luxury brands are looking towards the future by focusing in on Millennials. The generation has the potential to be the largest spending group in history, and by 2020 the oldest Millennials will be entering their peak earning years. To prepare, luxury brands are shifting to cater to the generation who values “über-luxe” travel over costly jewelry, shoes, and bags. Brands are turning to new influencers—from the Instagram-famous to video game characters— to form relationships with Millennials before they become the core luxury demographic. (WWD

GE has created an unexpected product to attract Millennial engineers: hot sauce. In partnership with thrillist and High River Sauces, the company has introduced the limited edition 10^32 Kelvin—named after the temperature that “scientists believe all matter ceases to exist.” The sauce combines the two hottest peppers in the world, and is made to get the attention of young applicants who may be more inclined to work for a “trendier” company. There is no doubt that hot sauce is a major trend: one market research firm predicts that by 2020 popular sauces will earn $632 million in new sales. (Fox News

An exclusive club called Magnises is “targeting Millennials and brands, wallets and insecurities.” We first told you about Magnises as a start-up targeting high earning Millennials, and since then it has branched out as a community-focused platform joining the ranks of WeLive and Soho House. Playing off Millennials’ struggle to form connections, the company wants to bring “the benefits of an online social network immediacy, convenience, interactivity—into the real world,” through member-only and sponsored events. They are expecting $5 million in revenue this year, with the  majority coming from brands. (Racked

Quote of the Day: “When shopping for a home, my must-have is an in-law suite.”—Male, 23, DE

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