Millennials: Banking the Opportunity

Millennials: Banking the Opportunity


Also known as Generation Y, millennials are distinct from the surrounding generations based on their unique formative experiences, which include pronounced technological, economic, and social shifts. In the last two decades, millennials have matured in terms of their size, economic strength, and socio-cultural influence.

Many millennials are well into their careers and are ready to invest and use financial advice. Their current and imminent financial commitments - such as paying off tertiary education, and buying their first house or car - will fuel growth in the banking sector for the foreseeable future.

Understanding their lifestyles, goals, and behavior is key given their status as a fast-rising financial services market. The industry must respond with relevant strategies that leverage the shifts in banking behavior and seize the maturing opportunity.

The report Millennials: Banking the Opportunity, explores the attitudes and behaviors millennials have with regards to their financial services products. It explores the major factors shaping their lifestyles and goals, and what this means for the financial services industry. Products covered in the report range from everyday current accounts to all forms of credit to investments.


  • Millennial penetration over-indexes in 14 of 21 financial holdings. This underscores the importance of targeting these consumers with products they value delivered in ways they prefer.
  • Millennials are more likely to experience a number of key life events in the coming years. Banks can capitalize on this with targeted products designed to facilitate these events or mitigate the disruption they cause.
  • Millennials still make safe and conformist choices about where to bank. They express moderate satisfaction with their product holdings, but there is a real interest in new (particularly digital) product features.
Reasons to buy
  • Gain insight into the purchasing path of millennial consumers.
  • Identify which financial products have already gained traction with the millennial segment and which are potential growth markets.
  • Assess which attitudes and behaviors of millennials truly set them apart from older segments, and which are merely the result of their younger age.

  • Executive Summary
    • Overview
    • Key findings
    • Critical success factors
  • Millennials are a key audience for retail banking
    • Defining the demographic opportunity
      • Millennials were born between 1983 and 1996
        • Table Figure 1: GlobalData-s age demographics view millennials as born between 1983 and 1996
      • Millennials have emerged as the largest living generation in many (but not all) nations
        • Table Figure 2: Millennials have come of age in the last 20 years to assume greater economic strength and sociocultural influence
        • Table Millennials globally represent a 1 billion+ demographic cohort
      • Millennials are highly urbanized and more diverse than their predecessors
    • Millennials over-index for the majority of financial products
      • Financial product usage has increased among millennials as the cohort has matured
        • Table Figure 3: At least half of global millennials hold eight of the 21 financial services products covered
        • Table Figure 4: Millennials- importance to retail banking is underscored by the strength and breadth of their product holdings relative to the general market
      • Over 80% of millennials globally hold a current or savings account, making debit cards the
        • Table Figure 5: More than 80% of millennials globally hold a current or savings account
      • Over two thirds of millennials own a credit card
        • Table Figure 6: Card penetration among millennials varies notably across countries
      • Lifestage and generational circumstances have prompted a heightened need for loans
        • Table Figure 7: Millennials are 1.26 times more likely than the general market to hold a personal loan
        • Table Figure 8: Card purchases and debt consolidation are key to millennials- need for a loan
        • Table Figure 9: Car dealerships are not commonly used for millennial lending in spite of vehicle purchases being such a key driver of borrowing
      • Millennials have emerged as the most important generation-based mortgage market
        • Table Figure 10: Just over a third of millennials globally have a residential mortgage on a primary residence
      • Under half of millennials have a pension at a time when day-to-day expenses take priority
        • Table Figure 11: Just under half of millennials globally have a pension
      • Millennials are important investors in spite of their day-to-day financial challenges
        • Table Figure 12: Hong Kong millennials notably over-index in equity holdings
      • A majority of millennials have adopted most insurance products
        • Table Figure 13: Four of the six insurance products have at least 50% penetration among millennials
    • Millennial lifestyles are characterized by life-defining events
      • Table Figure 14: Millennials- financial priorities are anchored by a number of key lifestage events as they adjust to a new phase of life
      • Millennials are more likely to be contemplating married life and starting a family
        • Table Figure 15: The US aside, millennials are far more likely than other generations to be expecting or preparing for a baby in the next two years
        • Table Figure 16: Marriage/civil partnership is more likely to be on the horizon for millennials than other generations
      • Millennials represent the largest group of customers buying a house for the first time
        • Table Figure 17: New Zealand millennials stand out for their desire to buy their first home imminently
      • The fluid nature of millennials- lifestyles make relocation a desirable and doable option
        • Table Figure 18: Millennials are the most likely cohort to anticipate a job change within two years
        • Table Figure 19: Over a third of Generation Z and millennials anticipate moving home within the next two years
      • Generation- and lifestage-defining events are shaping millennials- financial goals
        • Table Figure 20: Millennials globally are most likely to be saving for a holiday, which highlights their inherent desire for new experiences
      • Despite negative stereotypes, millennials are good at managing money
        • Table Figure 21: Millennials are subject to negative coverage and stereotyping in much of the media
        • Table Figure 22: Millennials are more buoyant about the future than other generations
  • Millennial attitudes and actions warrant special focus
    • Millennials express moderate satisfaction with their product holdings
      • Millennials are more likely to be promoters than detractors for their major account holdings
        • Table Figure 23: Current account NPS reflects a positive, albeit largely unenthused, millennial customer base
        • Table Figure 24: US millennials are more effusive than their global counterparts towards their savings accounts
      • Millennials are typically ambivalent towards the mortgages and loans they hold
        • Table Figure 25: The NPS results for mortgages make for mixed reading
        • Table Figure 26: Like other product holdings, millennials from Hong Kong lead the negative sentiment towards the provider of their personal loan
      • Millennials rate their mobile banking experiences positively
        • Table Figure 27: Europeans are embracing mobile banking across a range of devices, especially smartphones and tablets
        • Table Figure 28: Millennials express high levels of satisfaction towards the mobile banking user experience
    • Millennials could be making better use of banking product features
      • A wide range of financial management tools are desired but not widely used
        • Table Figure 29: Millennials generally report low usage levels for financial management tools
    • Millennials are pretty typical in their research choices
      • Savings: Millennials want the best rate from a reputable brand offering friction-free banking
        • Table Figure 30: The product attributes millennials seek from a current account are in line with the overall market
      • Mortgages: Millennials are fixated on securing the best rate, ideally from a local bank brand
        • Table Figure 31: Interest rate, arrangement fees, and brand reputation drive millennials- choice of mortgage
      • Loans: The influences shaping loan choices are consistent for millennials and the total market
        • Table Figure 32: Interest rate, simplicity, and existing relationships drive millennials- choice of loan provider
      • Investments: Millennials- motivations are led by a desire for an immediate income stream
        • Table Figure 33: Millennial investments are primarily driven by a desire for an immediate income stream
  • Appendix
    • Abbreviations and acronyms
      • Definitions
    • Methodology
      • GlobalData-s 2018 Retail Banking Insight Survey
        • Table Figure 34: Markets covered in the 2018 Retail Banking Insight Survey
    • Secondary sources
    • Further reading
    • About GlobalData
      • Table Figure 35: About GlobalData

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