Summer forecast: here come the millennial families

June 30, 2021

Millennial Family Summer

It’s no secret that the pent-up demand so present in the marketplace is exploding this summer. Consumers are out in force– buying more, spending more, and doing more.

But as we’ve learned in our latest quarterly consumer forecast, the real story might be about who is leading the charge: millennial families. There’s good reason why we pay such close attention to this audience. Millennial parents manage households of three or more people, meaning they have more reasons to spend. Although millennials they earn less and have less net worth than older generations, that doesn’t keep them from spending on the things that matter most to them. And according to our findings, they’re doing it like no one else.

In this forecast, we’ll take a special look at how and why millennial families are getting back out and engaging with brands this summer. Here are our five key takeaways:

1. They're far less worried about COVID-19.

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The dark shadow of COVID anxiety has officially lifted for millennial families and, indeed, for most audiences across the country. The impact of this can be felt across most every consumer category. Travel, dining, retail, fitness, healthcare—you name it, the customers are coming back.

2. Their travel intentions are soaring.

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With over 85% of millennial families planning to travel this summer, they represent the most sought-after travel audience around. But the news gets better. Not only do they plan to travel, but they also plan to travel more. 61% of those surveyed said they will take at least two trips, while over a third expect to travel three or more times.

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Length of stay is on the uptick as well, with over 40% of travelers planning trips of at least five days. And it should come as no surprise that many of those trips will take travelers farther from home. Over two-thirds of millennial family leisure trips this summer will occur outside of the traveler’s home state. Beaches and urban destinations top the list.

Put it all together and you have the potential for a real economic boon for travel brands this summer. Small wonder millennial families who expect to spend more than usual on travel right now outnumber those who don’t by three to one.

3. Families are ready to dine out more frequently.

Millennial families aren’t just going out of town this summer. They’re also going out to eat. Those planning to dine out more often outnumber those who don’t by more than three to one. Dining brands would be wise to make sure they’re ready for families by adding plenty of kid-friendly options.

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Meanwhile, cost has once again become the number one factor that might prevent a meal out. Concerns about COVID, by contrast, have dropped over 30%.

The move back to restaurants actually began back in the spring. Yelp recently reported having its best month ever in May, with over 3.7 million tables booked. That’s a 48% jump from May of 2019. Demand has increased so rapidly that restaurants are struggling with labor and supply shortages.

Also worth noting is that diners of all ages are seeking out the tastes of the season. Grilled items are number one for restaurant-goers this summer, along with seafood, smoked foods, and lighter fare like salads and chilled fruit options.

4. They're paying more attention to wellness goals.

Millennial behavior isn’t just about how they spend money. It’s also about what they hope to achieve. As you can see below, a significant number of respondents have set very clear health-related goals for the summer months.

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However, not all of these goals will translate into direct consumer activity. Instead of investing in new gym memberships or equipment, far more millennials intend to use what they already have. This could be a signal that although health and wellness is important to this audience, they’re ultimately driven by different spending priorities.

5. They're tapping the brakes on digital acceleration.

Once digital, always digital, right? Well, maybe not. For some audiences, a year spent cooped up at home has meant finding any excuse to get out again. That’s especially true for parents with small kids, who are eager for more activities that will get them out of the house, including exercising at the gym or simply going for a run.

They’re even finding value in the most mundane real-world experiences, like trips to the grocery store. With apologies to Instacart, a full 100% of respondents within this segment intend to shop more in person for groceries versus buying online. And while it’s too soon to know if that trend will last, it could make for some very crowded supermarkets in the months to come.

The bottom line is that we can expect to see those highly coveted millennial families out there and spending throughout the summer. And despite all the behavior change that came with the COVID lockdown, the widespread desire for a sense of normalcy may lead them to make lifestyle choices that feel very pre-COVID. Brands, prepare yourselves.