Are We On the Verge of Another Roaring 20's?
The vaccination rate of the US is climbing fast and, as more states make the vaccine available for everyone. And as shots go into arms, people have begun to predict how the country's economy will react.
With 16.4% of the US population vaccinated, CompareCredit set out to take the pulse of the country, and where the economy may be headed in 2021 and beyond.
Will there be another ‘Roaring Twenties’, just like the years after the Spanish Flu in 1918? An age of the Harlem Renaissance and the speakeasy, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, an artistic explosion filled with new voices and new hope. Or is the economy destined to crash?
What we found was, despite the doom and gloom of 2020, many Americans feel optimistic. One in four told us they thought Summer 2021 would be the start of another “Roaring Twenties.”
Our survey, conducted on behalf of CompareCredit by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 US adults, found that Gen Z and Millennials (Americans age 18-34) are the most optimistic group. More than a third (37%) said that Summer 2021 will be another roaring twenties period, compared to 18% of those age 35+). Women in this age group were the most optimistic, with 42% of Gen Z & millennial women saying that 2021 could kick off the next Roaring Twenties (compared to 17% of those age 35+).
Here are the top 10 trends that look like they could really lead to the next Roaring Twenties:
1. More Remote Work, More Van & Airbnb Lifestyles
If you aren’t missing your commute to work, you’re not alone - one recent survey found that 48% of employees want the flexibility to work remotely during some of the work week.
With some companies closing offices completely or offering remote opportunities, many Gen Zers and Millennials have been living in far flung places, renting Airbnbs and living and working across the globe.
Sure, it might not all be concentrated in Paris - but, just like the Lost Generation, more people than ever have started losing the commute and living an expat lifestyle.
2. Extra Savings Will Turn into Spending Power
New data from the Commerce Department demonstrate/display/highlight/shed light lockdowns have made it harder to spend, many Americans have put the money away for a rainy day, with savings accounts growing by $1.6 trillion since the pandemic began.
Younger Americans have managed to save, too. One report found that 54% of Gen Zers have saved more money since the pandemic than before it.
This is going to come in handy – our survey found more than half of Americans say they expect to start spending money on travel and restaurants (both 56%) that they hadn't been able to during the pandemic as life returns to pre-pandemic norms.
3. Cryptocurrency is Having a Millennial Moment
With the price of Bitcoin growing by a not-so-modest 500% in the past six months, cryptocurrency has been a big bet for many people. Most experts predict that Gen Zers and Millennials will be the ones behind the trend.
A study from December found, among people age 18-34:
- 38% said they would invest in crypto/bitcoin rather than government bonds
- 35% showed a preference for bitcoin over stocks
- 33% preferred bitcoin to real estate
Given the astronomical growth of cryptocurrency in general, this likely means that many younger Americans are ready to spend for the Roaring Twenties - even if their cash might be digital.
4. Retail is About to Hit a Renaissance
With rents cheaper than ever in prime areas, retailers are starting to rethink the retail experience. For the first time in years, big stores are planning to open more stores than they’re closing.
Online shopping will stay prominent, many Americans miss the tactile experience of shopping in stores - especially Millennials. A study from March 2021 found, among millennial men, 64% said they planned to shop for apparel in-store more or the same amount after being vaccinated. About half (45%) of Millennials women said the same.
As the new Roaring Twenties heat up, it won’t just be the virtual cash register ringing. Americans may be flocking to the stores as soon as they can, and retailers are getting ready for them.
5. Cheaper Rent, More Income
And about that cheaper rent?
That’s happening for Gen Z and Millennials, too, not just retail companies.In 2021, rent prices in New York City dropped by the largest year-over-year pace on record.
According to research from StreetEasy, Manhattan rent prices declined by 15.5%, while rent prices in Brooklyn and Queens fell by 8.6%.
When you’re not spending as much on rent, people have more disposable income to spend. And you can spend it on those things you’ve missed and been craving for during the pandemic shutdown;, whether its concerts Caribbean vacations, musicals or movies.
In other words, anything that roars Roaring Twenties.
6. Dating Will Go Maskless Again
If you’ve been single and dating in the pandemic, the odds are good that the first time you saw your potential partner, he or she was wearing a mask. Gen Z is most likely to require a mask on a first date - one survey found that 28% Gen Zers wanted their date to wear a mask.
So as vaccines pick up among younger age groups, you can expect there to be a lot more dates - and maskless ones at that.
And if you are single, and haven’t been dating during the pandemic, we are guessing you are ready to mingle and crave some human touch.
More dates equals more nights out on the town, more experiences booked and more ice cream for all those date-gone-wrong nights. All of which means more money being spent in local communities.
Just seeing faces in public again? It could be love at first sight.
7. The Last Year Saw a New Generation: “Generation Investor”
From Gamestop to Tesla, Bitcoin to Ethereum, 2020 saw a new influx of people who opened investment accounts and started investing in the markets. Charles Schwab has dubbed these retail investors “Generation Investor.”
Apps like Robinhood made it easier than ever to start investing. One estimate from JMP Securities puts the number of new brokerage clients in 2020 at around 10 million.
A study from Charles Schwab found that 50% of these new investors are Millennials.
So, while 2020 might have been a year for carefully watching money and trying to find the best place to invest, this summer could see an unprecedented spending spree with the reopening of travel, restaurants, and entertainment.
8. The FOMO is Real.
Gen Z & Millennials have another big reason to start thinking about what happens after vaccination: FOMO. Many Gen Zers had to experience a year of college by Zoom, instead of on campus. Millennials had to move back home and out of their apartments to live with families.
As cities and colleges open up again, we’ll likely see a wave of people eager to start reclaiming their lives before the pandemic.
9. Millennials Now Dominate the Housing Market.
It might not be on the same scale as Jay Gatsby’s mansion, but more Millennials are buying homes than ever. Research shows that millennial buyers now make up 38% of the home buying market, making them the biggest group of home buyers.
And what more says Roaring Twenties than a place to call your own, whether you’re having a quiet time at home or a grand party to celebrate the end of COVID-19?
10. It will be the Golden Age of… Reality TV.
Survivor? American Idol? American Ninja Warrior?
Did you miss them? Well, now that live audiences are finally coming back, reality TV is, too. In fact, now the industry thinks there is going to be a reality TV boom. Some industry insiders have even dubbed it “the Roaring Twenties of non-scripted.”
With more streaming channels available, and the ability to finally bring audiences back to sets, there’s even a new rush for good reality TV ideas.
And what, really, says Roaring Twenties than Reality TV?
Roaring Twenties vs. Roaring Recession
It’s easy to get excited about the Roaring Twenties. But, as last year proved to everyone, it’s hard to predict the future. Even if the future is only a few months away. In a recession, banks get reluctant to offer new products and great offers, and it’s harder to extend credit, too.
So think about what works best for you today - and what you expect to happen in the near future - and you can be prepared for whatever comes next.
Right now, banks are offering some of the best credit card deals around. Cashback, travel rewards, streaming and shopping rewards - everything you need to kick off the next big jazz age.
The CompareCredit survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of CompareCredit from March 19 - 23, 2021 among 2,058 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Elliot.Jeffords@sovereign.co.