Millennials: Banking the Opportunity

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"Millennials: Banking the Opportunity", report 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.

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. The industry must respond with relevant strategies that leverage the shifts in banking behavior and seize the maturing opportunity.


– 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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


1.1. Overview

1.2. Key findings

1.3. Critical success factors


2.1. Defining the demographic opportunity

2.1.1. Millennials were born between 1983 and 1996

2.1.2. Millennials have emerged as the largest living generation in many (but not all) nations

2.1.3. Millennials are highly urbanized and more diverse than their predecessors

2.2. Millennials over-index for the majority of financial products

2.2.1. Financial product usage has increased among millennials as the cohort has matured

2.2.2. Over 80% of millennials globally hold a current or savings account, making debit cards the primary financial product

2.2.3. Over two thirds of millennials own a credit card

2.2.4. Lifestage and generational circumstances have prompted a heightened need for loans

2.2.5. Millennials have emerged as the most important generation-based mortgage market

2.2.6. Under half of millennials have a pension at a time when day-to-day expenses take priority

2.2.7. Millennials are important investors in spite of their day-to-day financial challenges

2.2.8. A majority of millennials have adopted most insurance products

2.3. Millennial lifestyles are characterized by life-defining events

2.3.1. Millennials are more likely to be contemplating married life and starting a family

2.3.2. Millennials represent the largest group of customers buying a house for the first time

2.3.3. The fluid nature of millennials’ lifestyles make relocation a desirable and doable option

2.3.4. Generation- and lifestage-defining events are shaping millennials’ financial goals

2.3.5. Despite negative stereotypes, millennials are good at managing money


3.1. Millennials express moderate satisfaction with their product holdings

3.1.1. Millennials are more likely to be promoters than detractors for their major account holdings

3.1.2. Millennials are typically ambivalent towards the mortgages and loans they hold

3.1.3. Millennials rate their mobile banking experiences positively

3.2. Millennials could be making better use of banking product features

3.2.1. A wide range of financial management tools are desired but not widely used

3.3. Millennials are pretty typical in their research choices

3.3.1. Savings: Millennials want the best rate from a reputable brand offering friction-free banking

3.3.2. Mortgages: Millennials are fixated on securing the best rate, ideally from a local bank brand

3.3.3. Loans: The influences shaping loan choices are consistent for millennials and the total market

3.3.4. Investments: Millennials’ motivations are led by a desire for an immediate income stream


4.1. Abbreviations and acronym

4.1.1. Definitions

4.2. Methodology

4.2.1. GlobalData’s 2018 Retail Banking Insight Survey

4.3. Secondary sources

4.4. Further reading


List of Figures

Figure 1: GlobalData’s age demographics view millennials as born between 1983 and 1996

Figure 2: Millennials have come of age in the last 20 years to assume greater economic strength and socio-cultural influence

Figure 3: At least half of global millennials hold eight of the 21 financial services products covered

Figure 4: Millennials’ importance to retail banking is underscored by the strength and breadth of their product holdings relative to the general market

Figure 5: More than 80% of millennials globally hold a current or savings account

Figure 6: Card penetration among millennials varies notably across countries

Figure 7: Millennials are 1.26 times more likely than the general market to hold a personal loan

Figure 8: Card purchases and debt consolidation are key to millennials’ need for a loan

Figure 9: Car dealerships are not commonly used for millennial lending in spite of vehicle purchases being such a key driver of borrowing

Figure 10: Just over a third of millennials globally have a residential mortgage on a primary residence

Figure 11: Just under half of millennials globally have a pension

Figure 12: Hong Kong millennials notably over-index in equity holdings

Figure 13: Four of the six insurance products have at least 50% penetration among millennials

Figure 14: Millennials’ financial priorities are anchored by a number of key lifestage events as they adjust to a new phase of life

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

Figure 16: Marriage/civil partnership is more likely to be on the horizon for millennials than other generations

Figure 17: New Zealand millennials stand out for their desire to buy their first home imminently

Figure 18: Millennials are the most likely cohort to anticipate a job change within two years

Figure 19: Over a third of Generation Z and millennials anticipate moving home within the next two years

Figure 20: Millennials globally are most likely to be saving for a holiday, which highlights their inherent desire for new experiences

Figure 21: Millennials are subject to negative coverage and stereotyping in much of the media

Figure 22: Millennials are more buoyant about the future than other generations

Figure 23: Current account NPS reflects a positive, albeit largely unenthused, millennial customer base

Figure 24: US millennials are more effusive than their global counterparts towards their savings accounts

Figure 25: The NPS results for mortgages make for mixed reading

Figure 26: Like other product holdings, millennials from Hong Kong lead the negative sentiment towards the provider of their personal loan

Figure 27: Europeans are embracing mobile banking across a range of devices, especially smartphones and tablets

Figure 28: Millennials express high levels of satisfaction towards the mobile banking user experience

Figure 29: Millennials generally report low usage levels for financial management tools

Figure 30: The product attributes millennials seek from a current account are in line with the overall market

Figure 31: Interest rate, arrangement fees, and brand reputation drive millennials’ choice of mortgage

Figure 32: Interest rate, simplicity, and existing relationships drive millennials’ choice of loan provider

Figure 33: Millennial investments are primarily driven by a desire for an immediate income stream

Figure 34: Markets covered in the 2018 Retail Banking Insight Survey

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