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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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “Bojack Horseman was my favorite show last year because it was funny and real. Maybe too real, just beautiful.”–Male, 23, AZ

Binge drinking in college is common, and suggested reasons for the behaviors range from boredom to helicopter parenting—but it’s also possible they’re drinking to extremes to escape extreme stress. Today’s college students can have an “intense preoccupation with success” thanks to the competition it takes to get into schools, fear of the tough job market, and looming loan debt. In this context, “blacking out has become so normal that even if you don’t personally do it, you understand why others do. It’s a mutually recognized method of stress relief. To treat it as anything else would be judgmental." (NYTimes)

Once again, Millennials’ food preferences are “killing” a major product. Young consumers’ preoccupation with health have caused a yogurt problem for General Mills, where sales in the category have nosedived 15%. The downturn is likely due to the new perspective that sugar, not fat, is the real diet evil, a shift that has caused low-fat and low-cal foods to “fall out of vogue.”(As we predicted.) In more positive, related, news for the brand, organic and natural products have seen “immense growth.” (MediaPostMSN)

More teens are on YouTube than on the biggest social networks, according to research from the National Cyber Security Alliance and Microsoft. Their poll of 13-17-year-old internet users found that 91% say they use YouTube, compared to 66% who use Snapchat, 65% who use Instagram, and 61% who use Facebook. Their heavy use of the site is one of the reasons that YouTube creators have more influence over their purchase intent than traditional TV and movie celebs. Interestingly, the second most-used platform was actually Gmail, with 75% of teens reporting they use the email app. (eMarketer)

Millennials have been called out as a threat to the diamond industry, causing Twitter to offer their own blunt explanationsfor why the generation isn’t buying the “sparkly status symbols.” But hold up: De Beer’s annual report has declared, “Millennials spent nearly $26 billion on diamond jewelry [in 2015]…acquiring more than any other generation.” So why is everyone saying they aren’t buying diamonds when they reportedly purchased 45% of retail sales in four major markets? It might be another case of a narrative about the generation being more click-worthy than the reality. (Forbes)

This month, the Generation Beauty event brought together Instagram beauty influencers, beauty brands, and their loyal teen fans for a weekend of meet-and-greets and product samples. Young consumers are undoubtedly looking to their favorite digital personalities for product recommendations, and say it’s best “when they give their honest opinion,” trusting those posts more than those where copy is read directly off a package—“a dead giveaway that it’s sponsored.” Collaborations between brands and social influencers are reportedly especially popular with fans. (Racked)

Quote of the Day: “Jane the Virgin was my favorite show to watch last year because it was dramatic, yet relatable and hilarious. I also love the fact that it features many women actors and actors of color.” –Female, 17, Guam

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