As the UK braces itself for a post-Brexit reality, there’s an interesting generational and cultural transition taking place that may well impact what sectors continue to grow and which may be particularly at risk. The answers may be found in a widely cited survey on millennial values conducted by the event technology group Eventbrite. The study showed that a full two-thirds of people in their 20s and 30s gain fulfilment from live experiences as opposed to buying physical goods of equal cost.
In addition to live concert events, gathering for drinks with friends, and seasonal festivals, young consumers are increasingly keen on travel, the more exotic and unusual, the better. The easy accessibility of budget airlines isn’t the only difference from the travel habits of previous generations of Brits. Instead of the typical beach holidays enjoyed by their parents, UK millennials are looking to maximise life experiences when they travel. From participating in service projects and staying in the home of a local host to activity-based adventures such as an arctic dogsled expedition, there’s a growing demand for holidays with a hands-on element.
Of course, not everyone wants to disappear offline while they’re living on the edge. Experiences such as camel trekking, skydiving, and swimming with sharks are begging to be photographed, filmed, and shared. That means bringing one’s smartphone or GoPro into some pretty inhospitable environments. Anyone who has ever subjected their phone to high altitudes or sizzling temperatures has probably noticed that these handy little devices weren’t meant for the rough life. Either the battery drains at warp speed or the phone shuts itself off completely in protest. But these are temporary problems. Worst of all is the risk of loss or breakage. However loathe millennials may be to sink their hard-earned cash into material possessions, portable electronics are very much the exception.
So is there a solution to the seemingly crossed purposes of gathering amazing memories on a really fragile piece of high-tech equipment? Could a rough-and-ready newcomer on the mobile scene such as Caterpillar’s CAT S41 (read our review here) be a glimpse into the future? If adventure travel continues to be a millennial lifestyle trend, our best guess would be yes. Not only will waterproof, durable cases and wearable phone holders increase in popularity, cordless backup chargers are increasingly becoming a must-have accessory to keep those batteries alive while miles away from civilisation. Of course, where loss or theft is concerned, replacement policies specifically for mobiles such as those offered by market specialist simplesurance are likely going to be a growing marketplace as well. Bottom line: mobile-related businesses will continue to find customers among the younger crowd, something unlikely to change as Generation Z starts making their first bungee jumps.
Smart companies and investors would do well to pay close attention to millennial lifestyle trends. As the largest segment of the consumer population with an increasing share of the financial pie (despite complaints to the contrary), embracing the “experience economy” not only holds the possibility of profit but also may prompt a personal conversion. Wouldn’t we all be better off spending our resources on making memories?