Introducing the ‘Baby Zoomers’ – more than half of millennials now prioritise property, marriage and family

5th February 2021

  • More than half (56%) of millennials are making key life goals a greater priority due to the pandemic
  • 1.9m babies are predicted to be born in the next two years, suggesting a future baby boom
  • Three quarters (74%) are now prioritising saving money and just half are paying off debt (51%)

5th February, London: More than half (56%) of millennials (aged 25-40) are making buying property (50%), having children (42%) and getting married (41%) a greater priority as a result of the pandemic1.

According to new research from the UK’s leading digital bank, Starling, 2021/22 will give rise to the ‘Baby Zoomers’ – a cohort of millennials who have shifted their lives online as a result of the pandemic and now say they care more about the security of home, marriage and family. 

Location, Location, Location

Among the ‘Baby Zoomers’, half (50%) say they are now putting more focus on buying their first property than they did before the pandemic, with 27% aiming to do so in 2021, rising to 51% in the next two years. Three in five (60%)2 say they are focusing on moving to a bigger home. 

More than half (57%) of Baby Zoomers say they are reconsidering their location, compared to 24% of adults overall. Key factors include living space (more indoor 31% vs outdoor 28% living space) a rural location (23%) or moving closer to family (26%). 

Recent independent research supports Starling Bank’s findings, as people are planning to escape the capital post-pandemic, with half of all Londoners who want to move reportedly planning to leave the city3.

Parenthood and marriage 

Over half (57%) of Baby Zoomers want to have a child in the next two years. If intentions are followed through then this would equate to 1.9 million babies born in England and Wales in 2021 and 2022. This is considerably higher than the 640,000 born in 20194 and 657,000 born in 2018 in England and Wales5 according to ONS and, while not directly comparable as this relates to intentions rather than actual births, suggests we could see a baby boom in the next year and beyond.

When it comes to marriage, around two in five (41%) now say they see this as being more important since the pandemic. Around 78% of Baby Zoomers plan to get engaged by 2023 and 69% intend to tie-the-knot in the same period. On that basis, we could see significantly more weddings than in recent years6.

Saving goals

To fast-track life milestones, many say they are focusing on first getting their finances in order. Seven in 10 (74%) are now prioritising saving money and just half are paying off debt (51%). As a result, monthly savings among Baby Zoomers have risen by 24% (from an average of £177 pre-pandemic to £219 now), and by 17% among the UK population as a whole (from £183 to £215).

These findings are supported by Bank of England 2020 data, which revealed that over a quarter (28%) of British households have accumulated excess savings during the pandemic7. However, this figure is likely to conceal a drop in income and savings in some households due to reduced working hours or loss of work entirely, as poorer households are generally worse off.

Among Baby Zoomers overall, the pandemic has sparked a desire to spend their time and money on more meaningful experiences (76%). The data also indicated that over two in five Baby Zoomers (45%) say they are now prioritising getting a promotion, while slightly more are looking for a career change (47%).

Dr Ian Pearson, Futurologist says: “The pandemic has created a combination of economic, political, technological and social issues to push people towards an “interdependence over independent” mindset.”

“It has made everyone much more aware of their need for other people, and whether their savings have grown via lower everyday expenses or their finances have struggled due to job loss or being furloughed, it has also made them more aware of the economic and emotional stability and security offered by home ownership, marriage and having children.”

“We are seeing evidence of this already in property, with enquiries from city dwellers to village estate agents having risen significantly last year. This de-urbanisation will accelerate as lockdown eases this year as fear of future epidemics influences where people want to live.”

“As indicated in this research, I expect we’ll start seeing evidence in the next year or two both of this new mindset and the priorities shift on births and marriages.”

Helen Bierton, Chief Banking Officer at Starling Bank said: “The pandemic has made people rethink their priorities and as lives shifted online and creating “Baby Zoomers”. As plans change people are thinking more and more about money in order to facilitate these milestones. That’s why we designed a personal bank account that allows people to save more easily through lots of simple features as well as keeping close eye on their finances from their phone.”


1 56% of 25-40 year olds that said that achieving at least one life goal (including; buying first property, bigger property, have a baby / start a family, have more children, get engaged, get married, move in with a significant other) is more of a priority

2 Relates to all respondents, question was not put to people who already own a property

3 Source: London.gov.uk, August 2020

4 Full dataset

5 Full dataset

6 Full dataset

7 Source: Bank of England, November 2020

Methodology

The research was conducted by Opinium Research among 2,002 UK Adults (18+) who were questioned about the impact of Covid-19 on achieving their life milestones, between 11th – 13th January 2021. 

The data has been weighted to be nationally representative of the UK population.

About Starling Bank

Starling is a leading digital bank, founded in 2014 and voted Best British Bank in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Its retail banking app offers personal, business, joint, Euro, USD, child and current accounts on Android and iOS. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to third party financial services. Starling also offers ground-breaking B2B banking and payments services. It has opened 2 million customer accounts, including more than 285,000 limited company, sole trader and business accounts.

Contact:

Starling Bank Press Team
media@starlingbank.com

Cam Ivs
camilla@thirdcity.co.uk
07935 006 840

Tabby Haysom
tabby@thirdcity.co.uk
07719 939 902

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