Spending Habits of the Millennial Generation

Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. within the past year, according to Pew Research. Those who buy into the stereotype of the selfish, self-centered snowflake will likely cringe at the news.

But Concur, the travel and expense management firm, decided to take a close look at what this group is actually spending when they travel for business.

To gain more insight, Concur analyzed $36 billion in dining, entertainment and hotel expenses processed via Concur technologies between Q1 2015 and Q1 2017, broken down by general age brackets: 22-35 (Millennials), 36-49 (Gen X) and 50-65 (Baby Boomers).

Concur said “Millennial spending habits may surprise you.”

Employees ages 36-65 – that is, everyone in the workforce except Millennials — account for 80% of dining, entertainment and hotel transactions.

Total expenses per employee in this age range are 66% more than millennials, averaging $8,596 compared to $5,188 over the nine quarters.

However, breaking things down by transaction tells a slightly different story.

There are differences between the purchasing patterns of the different generations, but they are not drastic. Millennials spend:

  • 18% less than employees ages 36-65 on dining and entertainment, approximately $44 per transaction, compared to $52.
  • $33 per meal when traveling, while colleagues between ages 36-65 spend $39 (which also indicates a senior-level title may not necessarily come with a more lavish per diem).
  • 3% more on hotel related expenses (from their room, to parking, Wi-Fi and room service) than senior colleagues, averaging $114 per transaction. compared to $111.

The spending gap gets bigger when industries are taken into account. In fact, some of the numbers suggest that the industry influences spending more than the employee’s age.

On average, all generations in the financial services and public services industries spend more per business travel transaction compared to other industries – 22% and 19% more, respectively.

For example, employees ages 36-65 working in financial services spend an average of $52 per meal, while employees in the same age range working in health care spend $42.

Meanwhile, Millennials in public service jobs spend an average of $124 per hotel transaction compared to Millennials working in health care, who spend $107.

Overall, Millennials spend less on dining, entertainment and hotel expenses than older generations globally. (Tnooz).

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