Race against time: 57% of US Millennials are afraid of getting older

June 22, 2016

While US Millennials are optimistic about their future, new research from Mintel reveals that the generation fears Father Time, as 57 percent are afraid of getting older. This fear may be the reason why so many young adults are choosing to move back home with their parents after graduating from college.

Three in five Millennials are doing all that they can to fight the mental and physical signs of aging

The passage of time is also driving Millennials (age 22-39) – more so than older generations – to take proactive measures to delay the effects as three in five are doing all that they can to fight the mental signs (62 percent) and physical signs (60 percent) of aging. In comparison, half of Generation X (age 40-51) does all it can to fight the mental (53 percent) and physical (49 percent) signs of aging.

As Millennials look to maintain the care-free ways of their youth, half (51 percent) report that they have lived at home as an adult. In fact, Millennials, often called the “boomerang generation” because many moved back in with their parents after college, are the most likely generation to report having done so. In comparison, just one third (34 percent) of Generation X lived at home as an adult.

While nearly half (46 percent) of US Millennials agree that they rely on their parents too much, it hasn’t prevented them from feeling like adults (79 percent). This is particularly true among Millennial men, who are more likely to say they rely on their parents too much (51 percent), while also being more likely to agree that they feel like adults (81 percent).

“Dubbed the ‘boomerang generation,’ many Millennials were forced to return home to live with their parents post-graduation because of economic factors such as student loans, the higher cost of rent in metropolitan areas and the inability to find work during the Great Recession,” said Dana Macke, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst at Mintel. “Even as the economy recovers and consumer confidence improves, the trend of Millennials living with parents continues. In addition, the stigma associated with relying on their parents has softened. Not only has this influenced their own living situations, it will likely influence the way they raise their own children, with an understanding that the parent/child relationship doesn’t necessarily end in adulthood.”


With the Millennial generation either entering or already fully immersed in their key earning years, 36 percent of Millennials perceive themselves as ambitious and 56 percent agree that they are on track in saving for retirement. Yet while 60 percent agree that they are right where they should be in life, the majority of Millennials display uncertainty in their financial outlook. Indeed, two thirds (66 percent) feel that they should be doing more to prepare for the future, but don’t know how. This is compounded by half (52 percent) of Millennials feeling that they are not as grown up as their peers.

“Millennials have a desire to prepare themselves for whatever is to come and feel that they should be doing more; however, they don’t know what steps to take. This presents an opportunity for marketers in financial services to educate these ambitious consumers and help them jump-start the home-buying process, or simply move them up to more sophisticated financial products that will benefit them down the road,” continued Macke.

Half of Millennials agree that they like to keep up with trends, whether it be trends in technology (53 percent) or popular movies/TV shows (50 percent), while two in five (38 percent) follow social media trends. Mintel research indicates that Millennial parents are the trendiest as 57 percent stay up to date with technology trends. Despite their draw to the latest and greatest, two thirds (67 percent) of Millennials admit they spend too much time “connected” to devices and accessing media.

As prime media and marketing targets, the majority of Millennials agree that they see themselves in the people portrayed in advertisements (53 percent). However, Millennials think that the conversation about their generation is reaching a peak, with 53 percent sick of hearing about Millennials.

“A key demographic for media and marketing efforts in recent years, our research shows that Millennials have grown tired of hearing about their generation. Having recently overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the US, it’s important for marketers to engage with Millennial consumers in ways that better reflect how they see themselves and their peers,” concluded Macke.

Press copies of the Marketing to Millennials US 2016 report and interviews with Dana Macke, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

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For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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