Given that social media platforms are free, you wouldn't think that they'd cost you more money — but you'd think wrong. A new survey suggests that social media makes millennials more likely to spend money. And while you might think that it would mostly be millennial women ogling shoes and makeup and then running out to purchase them ourselves, it turns out millennial men are the ones who appear to be most susceptible to the power of suggestion.
In a survey from financial firm TD Ameritrade, two-thirds of millennials say that they compare their lifestyle and spending habits to others via social media, and around 15 percent of millennials also admit to spending money to make a good impression. Although the survey doesn't directly ask if millennials are spending money to "keep up with the Joneses' Instagram," it isn't hard to fill in the blanks. If millennials are spending money for the sake of appearances, and if our standards for appearance are rooted in social media, then it logically follows that many millennials' spending habits are at least partly influenced by social media.
And, in fact, other studies have found that this is exactly what's happening. Millennials aren't often buying products through social media, despite efforts by advertisers to include buying links in social media ads, but it seems we are still buying certain products because of social media.
Interestingly, TD Ameritrade finds that the millennials who might be most susceptible to this sort of influence are men. “Male millennials are more likely to spend money to make a good impression than female millennials,” TD Ameritrade spokeswoman Melissa Matson said. Men also were more likely to say that spending money now was better than saving money for the future.
But why? It might have something to do with the fact that they're still paid more than women — or maybe women just aren't as influenced by Instagram pictures as people assume.
Of course, this survey also found that more than half of all millennials say that they don't have as much money as they would like each month, while only 29 percent of Boomers say the same. I smell a new strategy for stimulating the economy...
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