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I’ll Take That! How Millennials Are Preferring Experiences Over Luxury?


I’ll Take That! How Millennials Are Preferring Experiences Over Luxury?

It’s safe to venture that throughout your workweek, you will stumble upon the newly published commentary on “millennials killing” any given industry. From casual dining chains to luxury jewelry and even bar soap, those aged 18 to 34 are consistently given opposition for their consumption habits and the eradication of said industries. Of course, millennials aren’t actively seeking to plummet the profits of shareholders. Innovation, combined with a high cost of living, has caused a drastic shift in the way goods and services are advertised, priced and delivered.

According to John Dion, Assistant Professor in Marketing at The College of Saint Rose, “… it is foolish to say that millennials are killing an industry.  Consumers have no obligation to purchase offerings that don’t satisfy their needs.  The burden is on the company to develop offerings that satisfy customer needs better than those of the competition.”


Additionally, those with extra money to spend have been investing their hard-earned coin into experiences, rather than luxury products…and yes, an “experience” can mean your college education. However, that’s another story…


A 2016 study done by Harris Group showed 72 percent of millennials preferring experience, over items. They’re going on vacation, attending music festivals, taking Ubers to the bar and investing in hobbies. They aren’t purchasing homes in their 20’s or paying for cable. Surely, they aren’t buying the 5-carat diamond ring.


As more cities invest in transportation, the need to own a car is also diminishing. According to Millennial, transportation is the number one consideration for young adults when moving to a new city, the second being cultural attractions.

Entertainment districts are in demand. Art, music, cuisine, and recreation are the pillars for creating a cultural scene. Millennials want to feel connected, experiencing the authenticity of a new city. The cuisine-hub of Austin, the grungy Seattle feeling, the chill vibes of Denver, these are just a few of the cities in which millennials are leaving the fatigue of their old dwellings for.


Lindsey McLemore, an avid concertgoer, residing in Brooklyn, said “A diamond is cool to look at I guess. It’s sparkly for sure, but so is the glitter I covered my body in at Bonnaroo, and I have way more memories associated with that, than any piece of jewelry I own, no matter how luxurious it may be. And since memories and experiences are really what I value, that’s where my money goes.”


McLemore recently moved to Brooklyn from Texas. While she admits her price of living has gone up exponentially, she still hasn’t let Auntie Inflation keep her down.

“I still travel, I still go to concerts. I bought myself a necklace to celebrate my first internship, but went to two festivals and Disneyland to celebrate getting my first job”, said the pink-headed, free spirit.


Millennials are steadily filling positions of an existing workforce, along with creating new and inventive career opportunities. The growing workforce has been praised for their adaptability and the fresh outlook on existing business practices, which not only includes technological innovation but also in demanding work-life balance and family leave. Cities will continue to invest in their infrastructure and promote what separates their home from others, in the hopes that it will become a mecca for millennials.

Businesses like Uber and Airbnb have thrived under the flourishing experienced-based market. Both have provided convenient and cost-effective services to the benefit of both consumers looking to have a more intimate experience and those who don’t mind sharing a car ride or a vacation home for a bargain. These services have provided accessibility to individuals everywhere, and income to businesses in remote areas.


“Companies need to take the time to understand millennial consumers, to develop a deep understanding of what their world is like.  Companies then must develop offerings that solve the problems that this group of consumers is facing.  Companies need to engage with these consumers on their terms.  This is not a new concept.  Successful companies have striven to be market-oriented for years.  Successful companies have tried to develop strong relationships with their customers for years.  Technology has made new tools available, but the overall concepts are the same”, said Dion, also a former Group Marketing Manager at Bose Corporation.

Memories last forever. While some might say young people are glued to their phones and don’t know how to forge proper relationships, it’s clear that they are driving the social experiences market. Far, few and in-between, are the label-obsessed, status symbols of the past. Millennials believe they have the grasp on what truly matters in life. Whether it be in the serenity of a mountain or through the amplified base drops in a flower-crowned crowd, the intrinsic beauty of connection stays prevalent with the refreshing ideals of the millennial generation.



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"Nicholas Negron is currently an activist within the LGBTQ+ community and is a New York City public affairs professional; guiding organizations seeking to do business with The City. These organizations provide integral health and human services, for the betterment of society."

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