1. Millennials are a divided generation
The millennials were the least likely to indicate that they will keep their spending level the same as the previous year. This is to be expected as they transition from school to university and on to secure work. Interestingly they were reasonably split on whether they were planning to increase or decrease spending. In an age group usually associated with study, first jobs and self improvement - it appears that this generation are actually having quite disparate experiences. Some are finding their opportunities are positive and improving; while others are experiencing job volatility, pay cuts and carry a general uncertainty in the economy which is leading them to reign in their spending.
2. Loosening the purse strings
Of all the age groups, the 25-34 year-olds are the most likely to be planning on increasing their spending in the year ahead. This aligns with this group finding more permanent employment and seeing pay increases and promotional opportunities come their way.
The younger generations (up to 44-year-olds) are planning on spending some of their savings to boost their budgets. This indicates that they are putting off life events such as marriage and home ownership to place more of their income and savings into shorter-term enjoyment through experiences and purchases. The middle generations (35-44 and 45-54 year-olds) are feeling more confident in the economy while the younger baby boomers are finding additional financial freedom as they enter retirement. The older retirees have circled back and are digging into their savings to enable them to spend more in the year ahead.
3. Gen X not reigning in spending
The middle age groups (35-44 and 45-54) are the least likely to be restricting their spending in the next year. This bodes well for spending within the retail sector. In a separate question these age groups indicated that although mortgage repayments are their spending priority for the year ahead - in terms of retail spend, they will be prioritising clothing, shoes and baby/kids products.
4. 45-54 look to the economy for spending decisions
Interestingly, the primary rationale amongst 45-54 year-olds for their expectations of spending increases AND decreases was based on the outward-looking measure - confidence in the economy. This indicates that they feel personally powerless in their ability to change their discretionary spending and are basing their behaviour on where they believe the economy will head and its impact on important factors such as employment and interest rates.