Valentine’s Day can be rightly described as a ‘consumer holiday’ for most millennial couples, as well as singles. Celebrated on February 14 every year, millennials unlike their previous counterparts (who would come back from work in time to celebrate the day with their better halves) believe in an attitude of ‘Carpe diem’ and seize the day irrespective of their relationship status. The day has become an occasion for millennials to celebrate their own lives by indulging in a bit of self-pampering.
And why not? While the previous generation was an era of practicality, who earned to only make ends meet, youngsters today have a third option – leisure. Millennials consider it an essential component of a healthy lifestyle, divulging from the traditional status quo of the Indian household.
Millennial love is all about experiences, rather than just gifting their loved one, or even themselves with a present. 24-35 year-olds are planning an experience together to celebrate the day and more than 51 per cent say a shared experience is what they’d most like to receive. This is significantly higher than the average of all adults, of whom only 39 per cent are hoping for an experience gift. Millennials will also spend more, averaging USD 104 compared to USD 87 for all adults.
Celebrating a special day holds a very different connotation for millennials.76 per cent singles would spend the day with their friends, and 24% would spend the day alone, if not with a significant other. The average millennial dines at a restaurant or buys take-out food five times per week.60 per cent millennials tend to gravitate towards purchases that are an expression of their personality and make them feel good.This is probably because India is on the fast track to become the youngest country by 2020, with a median age of 29. They may be young, but millennials are already the chief wage earners in most Indian households, with their income contributing 70 per cent of total household income. This tidal wave is surprisingly driving the country’s economy, too. The tendency to live in smaller clusters Pan India has allowed couples and their children to lead flexible lives with the ability to allocate time and invest in their own leisure. About 15.6 per cent of the overall urban households in the country are single-people and two-people units. This number has increased by 70 per cent in the last 10 years.
Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata etc, have over the last 10 odd years seen migration of millennials from smaller towns and cities. These places are known to be hubs for innovation, start-ups, media and IT companies. That is the reason why they are home to a large upwardly mobile and young workforce. Millennials are people who spend more time on their smartphones, often eat out or even order-in or pick-up something ready to cook.
Indian millennials are clearly not like their previous generation. They are comfortable with the idea of pampering themselves and whole-heartedly believe in dedicating time and resources on their personal leisure. This fundamental aspect of their life has given rise to ‘Leisure Consciousness’ in young India. The evidence of such Leisure Consciousness is witnessed in the proportion of personal loans last year.As per RBI data, personal loans account for 96 per cent of new bank loans during FY18. Now, on Valentine’s Day, an individual does not wait for their spouse or significant other to take care of their needs but takes the initiative to do it themselves.
Just in time for the season of love, we witnessed a sharp increase in applications (in the age group 25-35) of not only personal loans but also credit cards that offer benefits on travel, dining and shopping benefits. Apart from what we saw around major festivals, this is the highest rise in applications around a "day". A major reason for the same can be the fact that personal loans are available for amounts as low as Rs 15,000 and the approval process for both personal loan and credit cards is not more than a few days.
Another factor affecting this trend of ‘I am my own Valentine’ is the emergence of the nuclear family. The attitude of being responsible for their only their personal finance has brought about a radical change not just in their purchasing power but also in their mindset of people. The proportion of nuclear households, which has been on the rise during the past two decades, has reached 70 per cent, and is projected to increase to 74 per cent by 2025. This ongoing shift is important as nuclear families will be spending 20 per cent to 30 per cent more per capita than joint families. It is evident that living on their own has also encouraged millennials to increase their spending on themselves.
Lastly, the growing internet penetration empowering every consumer with a community that supports the belief in the development of the ‘whole self’ is another driver of Leisure Consiousness. Digital connectivity with data being available in abundance and at affordable prices has impacted millennial’s changing lifestyle. Millennials are leading India’s smartphone revolution with an astounding 84% already reliant on mobile broadband, spending an average of 17 hours a week online.
Since timely gratification is important for millennials, brands are using social media to make their presence feel online. From coming up with user-friendly websites to engaging consumers with relevant and fresh content has shown to have a great impact on millennials’ purchasing decision.
With an internet user base of almost 500 million (as of June 2018), and expected to double to 600 million by 2020, the continuous overall economic growth in India is largely defined by millennials who spend on themselves. The ever-rising living standard of the younger generation today and a sliver of time dedicated only to them is the foundation of Valentine’s Day in India today....