NEW YORK: Although Americans of all generations now feel more optimistic than they did over the past couple of years, millennials in particular intend to spend more on major purchases in 2015, according to a new online survey.

Based on responses from 1,820 US adults, the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker said millennials – defined as young adults aged 18 to 34 – are much more likely than older generations to experience major life milestones this year.

This is the expectation of more than half (56%) of US millennials, compared to 33% of Gen X and just a fifth (20%) of Baby Boomers.

That, in turn, makes millennials feel more confident that they're likely to make a big ticket purchase, such as a new home or car. Overall, 59% expect to make a major purchase, compared to 43% of Gen X and 34% of Baby Boomers.

"For the last several years, we've heard a great deal about millennials being held back by the recession," said David Rabkin, svp of consumer lending products at American Express.

"Now, with an improving economy, the country's 80m millennials say they will be wielding their wallets, a trend that will create an interesting new dynamic for retailers," he added.

Specifically, the research found millennials are more likely than older generations to take a leisure trip (75%), buy a car (33%), start a new job (27%), buy a property (25%), move to a new place (23%), buy a major household appliance (22%) or get married (5%).

While the findings about marriage come as no surprise, it is noteworthy that millennials outscore the other two generations on all the other six questions about their milestones and purchase intentions for 2015.

Even so, a full 68% of Gen X and 59% of Baby Boomers say they plan to take a leisure trip this year while Gen X is not far behind millennials with their plans to buy a car (27%) or purchase a major household appliance (21%).

Warc's Toolkit 2015 also noted that millennials have heightened expectations of brands and that they tend to gravitate towards companies that combine purpose with profit.

Data sourced from American Express; additional content by Warc