Millennials And Generation Z Are More Traditional Than You May Think

More than one-quarter of Generation Z and Millennials think the suburbs are the ideal place to live.

More than one-quarter of Generation Z respondents (27%) say reading is a top leisure activity, behind listening to music (37%).

Nov 17, 2015, 12:12 ET from Nielsen

NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A new global Nielsen study discovered that Millennials and Generation Z are surprisingly traditional when it comes to their aspirations, their entertainment pursuits and media consumption.

The Nielsen Global Generational Lifestyles Survey polled 30,000 online respondents in 60 countries to better understand how global consumer sentiment differs across life stage. For the purposes of this study, respondents are segmented into five life-stage classifications:

  • Generation Z (15 – 20)
  • Millennials (21 – 34)
  • Generation X (35 – 49)
  • Baby Boomers (50 – 64)
  • Silent Generation (65+).

The study examined how age influences how consumers around the world think, where and what they eat and how they save and spend. Today's consumers are bucking yesterday's preconceived generational notions. In fact, many older people are embracing a more technology-driven world, and sizeable numbers of younger people are turning to more traditional values. Yet for all of our differences, in many ways, it's remarkable how similar we are no matter the age.

Old Myths, New Realities

  • Traditional values, such as getting married, having children and buying a house are still relevant for many Generation Z and Millennial respondents. About one-in-five Generation Z and Millennial respondents consider buying a house (21% and 22%, respectively) or getting married (19% and 17%, respectively) one of their top three aspirations for the future. And 11% of Generation Z and 13% of Millennials picked having a baby as a top goal. More than one-quarter of Generation Z and Millennial respondents think the suburbs are the ideal place to live.
  • When it comes to getting the news, TV and search engine sites have broad appeal for the young and old alike. Not surprisingly, older respondents prefer traditional sources like print and radio. The majority of those over age 35 turn to TV to get the news, but the medium still holds sway for nearly half of Millennial (48%) and Generation Z (45%) respondents as well.
  • Millennials and Generation Z may have a reputation for being distracted by technology, but 52% of Baby Boomers admit that their mealtimes are not technology free. The Silent Generation (42%) is not far behind.
  • Millennials and Generation Z appreciate dining out. Nearly six-in-10 Millennials (58%) say they eat out at least once a week, twice the percentage of Baby Boomers (29%). And 30% of Millennials eat out three or more times per week.
  • Generation Z pick reading as one of their top spare-time activities. More than one-quarter of Generation Z respondents (27%) say reading is a top leisure activity, behind listening to music (37%).
  • More than half across Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomer generations are satisfied with their occupations, work environment, co-workers, work/life balance and boss—and sentiment mostly increases with age. However, less than half are satisfied with income and other medical, retirement and savings-plan benefits—and sentiment largely declines with age.
  • Job loyalty may be a thing of the past. Millennials are roughly two times more likely to leave a job after two years, 1.5 times more likely after five years and half as likely to stay after 10 years, compared to Generation X and Baby Boomer respondents.
  • Debt is a fact of life for more than four-in-10 respondents of all ages, including more than half of Generation X and Baby Boomer respondents. Older consumers carefully monitor spending and limit purchases, while younger respondents take a longer-term approach.


The Nielsen Global Survey of Generational Attitudes was conducted Feb. 23 - March 13, 2015 and polled more than 30,000 online consumers in 60 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and North America. The sample includes Internet users who agreed to participate in this survey and has quotas based on age and sex for each country. It is weighted to be representative of Internet consumers by country. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. However, a probability sample of equivalent size would have a margin of error of ±0.6% at the global level. This Nielsen survey is based only on the behavior of respondents with online access. Internet penetration rates vary by country. Nielsen uses a minimum reporting standard of 60% Internet penetration or an online population of 10 million for survey inclusion.


Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen's Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry's only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance.  Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world's population. For more information, visit

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