The combination of a down economy, the pandemic and election uncertainty are causing the youngest consumers, Generations Y and Z to be pulling back on spending. That does not bode well for retailers in the run-up to the holiday season.

Bloomberg news announced in September that the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, more than double what it was last year. But among those ages 16 to 24 that straddle Generations Y and Z, the unemployment rate is a staggering 13.5 percent, according to data from the Labor Department released last week.  

A new Piper Sandler survey suggests that teen spending hit its lowest levels in two decades. While it is hardly surprising that they spent less on food and events during the coronavirus pandemic, even apparel spending was down 11% from last fall. And there is plenty of reason to suggest things could get worse among our youngest spending cohorts. This is particularly troubling given that it was younger spenders that powered the economy out of the 2008 recession.   

Easing the Pay Pain

Retailers are working overtime to reengage the Generation Z demographic, which still wants to touch and feel the goods. Eighty-one percent of this cohort group prefer the instore experience, according to buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) leader Afterpay. As a result, retailers and the fast-growing BNPL industry are mounting a multifront, seasonal attack aimed at this valuable consumer, on and offline.

Two major announcements hit the wires on October 6th introducing new relationships between two major BNPL players with a couple retail powerhouses. First, Australian based Afterpay which claims 10 million active users globally, announced a partnership with Simon Property Group to promote in-store shopping ahead

Brits spend over £150 a year on cleaning products. Photo: JESHOOTS.COM/Unsplas
Brits spend over £150 a year on cleaning products. Photo: JESHOOTS.COM/Unsplas

Generation Z Brits spend more money on cleaning products than any other age group in the UK, research suggests.

Brits now spend about £12.61 ($16.30) a month on cleaning products — £151.32 a year — while 16% even spend over £20, according to a survey of by Currys PC World.

However, Generation Z — 16 to 24-year olds — spend above average, and more than any other age group on their cleaning routine, at about £14.73 a month. This comes to about £50 a year more than over-55s, the research found.

The younger generations are more eco-conscious in their cleaning habits, with Generation Z being the most likely to make their own eco-friendly cleaning products, while those aged 25 to 34-year olds are the most likely to buy eco-friendly cleaning products.

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However, youngsters are also the most likely to throw away a dirty, old appliance away to avoid cleaning it — with one in five Generation Z admitting they have or would do this — thus contributing to harmful landfills.

Across the UK, people in London are the most likely to fork out more cash for a clean home, spending about £14.54 a month, while people in Northern Ireland follow closely behind, spending about £14.02 a month.

On the other hand, those in the South West spend the least, at about £11.71, the research found.

The study also found Brits are spending more time cleaning in 2020, dedicating 6.5 hours a week to keeping the home tidy. This is an increase of about 23 minutes since 2019 — likely as a result of people spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national