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Recession shapes millennial attitudes

News, 14 November 2016

SINGAPORE: The 2008 financial crisis has been a critical force in shaping millennial attitudes to finance, new research by HSBC has revealed.

Ailean Mills, Global insight Director at consumer insight agency BAMM London, which worked with banking giant HSBC to research millennial attitudes to money, said the 2008 financial crisis deeply changed this generation's approach to finance.

Speaking at the recent QUAL360 conference in Singapore, she said traditional financial milestones embraced by their parents have become much less attractive, or attainable, to millennials, who no longer look to the future hoping to be fulfilled.

A sense of the world's unpredictability marks their outlook in life; that everything can vanish in a blink. (For more, read Warc's report: Ten millennial insights for financial brands – insights from HSBC.)

"One common denominator we found was, everything is changing. Everything could be gone tomorrow," Mills said.

Researchers also found that millennials eschew traditional notions of climbing the corporate ladder, instead placing greater value on free time and experiences.

What's more, millennials do not turn to banks for financial advice as this relationship is viewed as "institutional". "Banks no longer had this sense of trust that they perhaps had in previous generations," Mills explained.

For brands, this has a myriad of implications, and exploring ways to generate relevant content with genuine social currency is one.

"You can imagine the challenges a bank such as HSBC has in realising that if it's about social currency rather than financial currency or assets, what do we do?" said Mills.

Another interesting finding came in the form of just how many of the respondents self-identified as being anti-consumerist.

"People were talking about the fact that they did not want to be consumerist. Even though we'd gone to their homes and we'd seen many of the usual artifacts, they were pegging themselves a different kind of personal projection – that they were anti-money," she said.

"That was not uncommon among this age group. We saw polarisations between materialists and non-materialists."

Data sourced from Warc