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Brief Published: 10 Mar 2020

Pragmatic Millennials Quick to Change Consumer Habits

US millennials – a pragmatic cohort shaped as children from 9/11, and then the 2008 recession – are the generation most likely to say the coronavirus has affected their purchasing decisions, reaching 54%, compared to 33% of boomers, 42% of Gen X and 49% of Gen Z. 

First Insight

According to a US survey conducted on February 28 by merchandising platform First Insight, 40% of millennials also said they have cut back on spending in preparation for the coronavirus, about the same as Gen Z (41%), but substantially more than boomers (23%) or Gen X (36%). “Millennials’ behaviour is changing more dramatically than any other generation. They are going to cut their spending,” First Insight chief executive Greg Petro told CNBC.

The spending slowdown is not surprising given that millennials will be the generation hardest-hit by the next recession, as The Atlantic’s Annie Lowrey predicted last August.

Meanwhile, 46% of millennials said the virus is impacting how much they go out in public, with 39% saying they are shopping less frequently in stores (versus 30% of respondents overall) and 30% saying they are engaging in more e-commerce (versus 21% of respondents overall).