Lab 8 – Spare time

When we talk about leisure with millennials, we naturally also talk about work. For work and leisure are each other’s friends and enemies. Most millennials love their jobs and have great professional interest in what they do. Work is almost a hobby and therefore free time, so it easily flows together. However, how do they prioritize the spare time that’s left?

Job and leisure time floats together as one
Millennials is a generation that has grown up in a flexible labor market. They are fine with floating boundaries between work and leisure, and it is quite normal for them to work extra time. Typically, the work is also what interests them the most and an important part of their identity, so as a result, privacy and work flow quickly comes together as one. That is why the bit of spare time that’s left, is extra valuable – and must be used sensibly. The millennials we talked with were at the same time very aware of the danger of the boundless working life and about finding a good balance between pay and workhours and personal investment. They also see family life and having children as a big challenge, but believe that it is possible because they expect the workplace to be flexible when they have children.

Employers say they do not expect one to be available all the time – but again they do expect it.

”I am lucky my job is my hobby. I always have something I can work on.”

2/3 Feel they are working, when they should be enjoying their time off

57% do not believe the future labor market will give them more leisure time. But they do think the future’s labor market will become more flexible.

It will be in to be off
The floating boundaries between work and leisure makes it harder for millennials to find time for themselves. According to our Millennials, an expectation from the job to be “always-on” and available 24-7 makes this an even bigger challenge. The mind is often working overtime, so the need for off-time and single-time has become a priority amongst the millennials. And this not only in Denmark. According to Nielsen Research, there is a clear global trend that Yoga and other meditative training are in the rise. This also shows in the fact that millennials are also the most stressed generation. Another tendency is that once again it is okay to relax in front of the TV. Just not for flow-tv. Because of course, they are streamers and big consumers of series. In the UK and US, despite the increased health focus, it is the most widely used “leisure activity”.

“We really want to go to the summerhouse/cabin where there is no connection, to be totally off-line.”

Leisure time is also social time
Another obvious difference is that millennials spend their own time eating out and participating in events. FOMO (fear of missing out) has its claws in this generation. The need to show that they have a rich social life is an important factor. Therefore, they spend more money on experiences than materialistic things. In fact, 78% say that they will also spend money on events and experiences than material things. Our qualitative interviews also showed that special free events are popular and that millennials consciously avoid expensive activities like theater and concerts. There is greater status in showing that you are together socially, than being at an expensive event.

Millennials want to reach out
Millennials are often described as a generation that is mostly interested in themselves. But something suggests that this is a myth. According to Rambøll’s Volunteer Study 2017, approx. every one in three millennials is engaged in voluntary work. However, it is slightly below the national average of 41%, probably because many millennials have not yet had children, and therefore they have not become volunteer parents in kindergartens, schools, sports and the likes. That fits well with our analysis that 1/3 of our group spend time on charity or volunteering typically spending 3-4 hours a week. So everything indicates that the Danish “voluntary help” culture will live on.

1/3 spends time on charity or volunteering 3-4 hours a week

The tourist is dead. Long live the traveler
The tourism industry is undergoing dramatic change and will keep changing, not least because of the Millennial generation. They are the front runners of the sharing economy and large consumers of services like airbnb, which is just perfect for this generation. They are intrigued by the idea of sharing, and it is a more economical travel solution. But perhaps most importantly, they clearly express that they want to leave the tourist trail, blend in and experience more genuine local culture on their own. Numbers from Nielsen shows that 80% of the millennials seek unique cultural experiences and adventures on their travels. And the best way to do that is by living like the locals. They also claim it’s more important to meet a lot of people than to take home souvenirs. In addition, they are very much planning the trip themselves. They spend a lot of planning time and are careful to find the right destination, location and price. It is therefore cool to travel, but not cool to be touristy.

“Airbnb is much better because you feel a bit more absorbed by the surroundings.”

Short travels that last long
Millennials also prefer several short vacations to one long vacation. A typical journey does not cost more than 5,000 kr. They travel abroad and prefers to leave in the winter. An extended weekend in a big city is popular, but also nature experiences, where they have the feeling of getting far away is gradually being preferred to the beach vacation. While older generations consider traveling as a luxury, the millennial sees traveling a natural integral part of their lives. According to Nielsen, 61% of the millennials travels 5-7 times in a year.

Millennials prefers: Big City: 29% /Beach: 38% / NATURE: 33%

Don’t trust the pilot
The long journey to another continent is something most millennials dream about – but also realizes. Everything is possible. So it if it’s on the wish list, it will be done. Millennials largely take their travel decisions based on personal recommendations from social media. Our group discussions showed that price, location and recommendations weighted equally high in their choice of travel and places to go. Official hotel ratings are not appealing, most likely because they believe the ratings are based on fake data.

“I don’t dream, I do.”

So which direction does the compass point?
Millennials are very concerned about both environment and resources and they act on it. But so far, they have not taken the consequences when it comes to traveling, which is very resource-intensive. But it’s probably only a matter of time. We believe the arrow points towards the trend of discovering new places close to and in your own country. But this is just a qualified guess.

75% want to go abroad.

About Millennial Lab.
A Saatchi Insight Study
Millennials is about to be the most important generation in the near future. These 18-35 year olds are the best educated, most traveled, most digitized, most outgoing and widest reflective generation in Denmark ever. They represent one fifth of the population but account for more than one third of the consumption. Saatchi & Saatchi believes it is important to understand the behavior and preferences of the 18-35 year olds, which is why we through several years have sponsored and run Millennial Lab, an insight study based on quantitative analyzes, qualitative talks and workshops with millennials.