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…

 
 

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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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