Millennials would rather buy a car than travel the world

  • Half of baby boomers wish they’d have travelled the world when they were younger
  • Buying a brand new car is the most important experience for millennials

Millennials are prioritising new cars and seeing bands over travelling the world, new research has revealed.

The research, conducted by short term loan provider Wonga, asked millennials (18 to 34 year olds) and baby boomers (55+) to rank a series of key life milestones and experiences to determine the differences between generations. They also asked older generations which milestones they wish they had prioritised, to understand how spending priorities have changed over time.

Millennials may be stereotyped in the media for a love of avocado on toast that leaves them unable to get onto the property ladder, but the research revealed that saving for the deposit on a house is actually the most important milestone for 18 to 34 year olds to achieve. Saving for a house deposit is also the most important life milestone for over 55s.

The research also looked at which specific experiences people value most. Travelling is the experience baby boomers consider most important – visiting Europe for a long weekend topped the poll and seeing iconic landmarks across the world completed the top five.

In contrast, visiting the world’s most iconic landmarks only just made the top ten of the experiences millennials value most. Often defined as the ‘gap year generation’, 18 to 34 year olds rank a long weekend in Europe fourth and taking a gap year seventh as the most important life experiences.

Buying a brand new car is seen as the most important experience by millennials, followed by seeing their favourite band live and living away from home. When asked which experiences they wish they’d had when they were younger, only 8% of the over 55s chose buying a brand new car, but half wish they had travelled the world.

When asked about their main priority in life, it is unsurprising that both millennials (52%) and baby boomers (56%) say that being happy is top of their list. However, 14% of 18 to 34 year olds see having a good job as their main priority, compared to less than 2% of the over 55s. Being surrounded by friends and family is the top priority for over a quarter (27%) of baby boomers, but just under one in ten (9%) millennials.

The most important experiences for millennials and baby boomers are:

Millennials Baby boomers
Buying a brand new carVisiting Europe for a long weekend
Seeing your favourite band liveSeeing your favourite band live
Going to university and living away from homeBuying a brand new car
Visiting Europe for a long weekendGoing to university and living away from home
Adrenaline-seeking activities: e.g. skydiving, climbing a mountain etc.Seeing iconic landmarks in the world
Going to a festivalGoing to a festival
Taking a gap yearOwning a pet
Owning a petAdrenaline-seeking activities: e.g. skydiving, climbing a mountain etc.
Renovating a houseTaking a gap year
Seeing iconic landmarks in the worldRenovating a house

James McMaster, Head of Marketing in the UK at Wonga, said: “It is really interesting to see which experiences each generation values the most, and the differences between millennials and baby boomers. With the differences between the two generations widely documented in the media, it’s particularly interesting how the older generation prioritises travel experiences and even wished they had travelled more.”

To read more about how the older generation look after their money, visit Wonga’s Cash Smart hub:

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