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The Generation Game


If we compare the spending habits of the post-war baby boomers with the supposed “treat yourself” millennial generation, it’s clear that social and technological advances have prompted a change in the UK’s attitudes to spending.

Younger generations have been brought up in a world where digital is key to all aspects of work and life, and this affects everything from what they spend their money on to how they make payments. Millennials are much more likely to use debit and credit cards or PayPal when making purchases compared to previous generations. Research by Sainsbury’s Bank also shows that 23% of Millennials (those born between the early 1980s and the mid-1990s) carry less than £5 in cash on a daily basis. This compares to 30% of baby boomers (those born between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s), who carry up to £50 in cash. Consumers now have more flexibility, with access to the finances at their fingertips and reduced inhibitions around spending.

It’s estimated that by 2025 there will be 30,000 electronic payments per minute. The rise in instant mobile payments, digital banking and a steady decline in cash payments across all generations suggests that the UK could become a cashless society in only a few short decades.  The visual below illustrates the fundamental differences in the way each generation manages their finances and looks at what’s to come for the UK’s payment landscape.




Author: Kate Nelson