The generation that went through the Great

Depression never lost their habit of pinching pennies and

living frugally. The Baby Boomers, brought up in a time of

plenty, have been enthusiastic consumers their whole lives.

The question now is whether the Millennials, who have

learned the lessons of the Great Recession, will keep their

current penchant for frugality or return to the consumerism

of their parents.

It’s not just a philosophical question –it is a matter of

survival for many industries that rely on consumer

spending. As we have reported, restaurateurs have

been concerned about the trend for Millennials to

eat out less than previous generations at their age.

And carmakers are very worried about the penchant

for those younger consumers to purchase fewer

and less expensive–and therefore less profitable-

– models.These are children of

the Great Recession, and in many ways their spending

patterns are just like the children of the Great Depression.

A core is there for both groups. It is an alignment of values

in that both look for value in a purchase. They are buying

16% fewer cars and houses.

They are putting off deciding to get a driver’s license.

If they don’t need a car, they don’t buy one. It is a more

thrifty generation than we’ve seen in a while.

Where Millennials differ from their Great Depression surviving

grandparents is their use of digital devices to find

the best values and lowest prices. And because of that,

they can be reached through those channels by retailers

and others who know their preference for price transparency

and product information. Millennials

are price and payment-sensitive, but is

not sure that those behaviors will stay

with the generation as the economy

recovers. The habits of youth are likely to stick, just as

they did for the “Greatest Generation”

and the Baby Boomers.