The Uncuttable Digital Apron Strings

no strings attachedIn this season of New Girl, a character's visiting mother threatens to punish him in an incredibly convincing way: by no longer paying for his cell phone. The character, Winston, is nearing 30-years-old, otherwise financially independent, and living with roommates; but his continued presence on his family plan is more true to life than comic relief. Many Millennials stay on their family cellphone plans and shared entertainment accounts with their parents footing the bill, even when making other steps toward independence.
 
Wall Street Journal article on the subject earlier this week tells us that 29% of parents of 18-to-35-year-olds continue to pay for their cellphone service even after the kids have moved out. Citing everything from empty nest syndrome to enjoying the access to the entertainment preferences of their young ones, the Boomer perspective is clearly laid out: the prolonged family plan keeps the connection to their kids alive. On top of this, the concept of cellphone and entertainment account independence is a completely new arena. Boomers themselves didn't have to contend with this as a right-of-passage, so they may not see cutting digital ties as a necessary step their own kids need to take on the road to adulthood. But how do Millennials feel about keeping their digital apron strings tied tight well into their 20s and 30s? 
 
In his Huffington Post response to the WSJ article, Danny Rubin posits that if your parents are still paying for your cellphone you are not a true adult, and for Millennials who are managing the onslaught of adulthood with a combination of anxiety and procrastination, that might not be such a bad thing. After all, being a grown-up is scary stuff, and even a small continued reliance on family is something of a comfort.
 
But it might not just…

 
 

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


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “You want me to list every concert I’ve been to in the past year? Are you nuts? I've been to like 30 so far this year.”

—Male, 29, NY

Forget the ping pong tables and free food, Millennials really want a tech-smart workplace. A new study from Dell and Intel has revealed that 80% of 18-34-year-old workers prefer tech-forward perks like augmented/virtual reality than other low-tech perks at their workplace. They are so driven by digital capabilities that 42% say they wouldn’t hesitate to leave their jobs if the environment wasn’t up to par with what they consider “smart.” About three in five say they expect technology to become advanced enough to longer need face-to-face interactions in the future. (Parent Herald)

Branded content is not only a way to reach the ad-skipping generation, it’s also producing results. A recent Nielsen analysis found that branded content generates 21% more brand recall than a pre-roll ad, and is giving brands a boost in perception: affinity for branded content averages 28% in comparison to 18% for pre-roll, and purchase intent is 14% for branded content compared to 11% for pre-roll. The analysis also found that 40% of consumers say they “probably will” or “definitely will” view branded content on future TV/video episodes. (MediaPost

Victoria’s Secret is making a not-so-subtle play to attract Nike consumers to their brand with Victoria Sport, their new athleisure division. The brand has been slowly shifting its image from sexy to athletic to coincide with Millennials’ preference for “being fit [and] strong,” and buying clothes that reflect that. On the new line’s website, Victoria Secret calls out Nike with a quote from one of their Angels saying, “When I tried these, I threw out all my Nike bras." (Business Insider

“Brand love is alive and well with the Dew nation." After Mountain Dew asked fans to vote on which limited-edition flavor should become a permanent fixture in stores, Baja Blast or Pitch Black, a three-month long voting campaign inspired crazy stunts and drew in nearly 5.8 million votes. To encourage votes, the brand hosted an event inspired by ‘90s favorite GUTS Aggro Crag, and challenged fans on social media to bathe in or dye their hair the color of the beverage they wanted to win. Fans complied, and in the end Pitch Black was the ultimate winner with 50.5% of the votes. (Adweek

Millennial small business owners (SBOs) are “in it for the long haul.” A study from Wells Fargo revealed that 80% of 19-35-year-old SBOs plan to grow their business for many years and eventually pass them along to their children, and nearly 60% say that being passionate about their work is what drove them to start their business, compared to about half of older SBOs. Millennial SBOs are also more willing to put it all on the line: 67% are willing to take financial risks to get them there, while only 54% of older SBOs said the same. (Entrepreneur,The Street

“I like Beyoncé, because she's a force to be reckoned with in most aspects of her life. She shows how to be a strong female.”—Female, 26, CO

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