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: “This holiday, I’m giving someone a hoverboard.” –Male, 19, CA

Yesterday’s Cyber Monday broke records and holiday shopping is increasingly moving online—especially for Millennials. So it only makes sense for brands targeting young consumers to focus more of their holiday marketing efforts on digital. J.Crew and American Girl are both betting big on social campaigns this season, with J.Crew creating shoppable Instagram ads and a digital gift guide, and American Girl running multiple campaigns on Facebook and Instagram this December. (Adweek)

Since we first wrote about the best dressed generation, the trend of mini-fashionistas earning Instagram fame has only continued and grown. Some parents of these pint-sized digital celebrities, who the Times has dubbed “Instamoms,” work with brands to feature clothing and products in post in exchange for payment. While the kids are undoubtedly adorable, one consulted psychologist compares the practice to the “pageant world.” (NYTimes)

Spotify has released their year in review results, and Millennial artists are ruling the streaming waves. Drake was the most streamed artist of the year, Rihanna was the most streamed female artist, Justin Beiber received the most streams in a single day, and The Weeknd had the most streamed album. One important note: Taylor Swift and Adele are not included in the ranking because they do not make their music available on the service. (The Verge)

Over thirty percent of Millennials see credit cards as “old school,” according to PayPal’s shopping research. This attitude could be because of their increasing affinity towards mobile and digital payments, and PayPal declares that this means, “’Millennials want credit that is as digitally native as they are.’” The e-pay brand also found that Millennials are more likely than any other generation to say they are more likely to trust companies that are tech-based. (Marketingland)

Cereal was once as much a part of childhood as Saturdaymorning cartoons, but the boxed breakfast is on the decline with children, and Millennials. Young consumers have been turning to lower sugar, portable food options like Greek yogurt, and “kids today don’t identify with cereal as much as the older generations once did.” Brands are pivoting marketing and products to adjust to the shift, and Kellogg has experimented with playing on Millennials’ nostalgia to get them back in the cereal aisle. (The Atlantic)

Quote of the Day: “This holiday season, I’m buying myself a GoPro.” –Male, 28, MI

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