Rich Millennials Are Redefining Luxury With These 10 Status Symbols
Wealthy millennials are approaching their 40s and starting to get serious about life. Some are starting families or buying homes, and this is changing what luxury looks like to them.
In the past, millennials were known to splurge on personalized experiences, brands that matched their values, and luxury apparel such as sneakers and streetwear.
Now that they've grown up a little bit, they're spending more on their homes, children, and pets. Here are 10 new trends and status symbols for rich millennials:
Millennials are spoiling their pets with luxury food and goods.
Instead of buying regular pet food from Pedigree or Purina, this generation is splurging on more premium brands like Rachael Ray's Nutrish or Simpsons Premium, which offer organic and gluten-free meals.
Some pets are getting high-end treatment, with their owners dropping as much as $12,000 on miniature "playhouses" and splashing out on luxury clothing and accessories, including $600 Moncler puffer jackets, $80 Ugg boots, $152 designer poop-bag holders, and $1,100 Hermés wooden dog bowls.
Some pet owners have started making "barkuterie" boards — snacks inspired by charcuterie boards — for their dogs, with an assortment of biscuits and other treats.
Kristen Boesel, formerly a lifestyles and leisure analyst at the market-research firm Mintel, told Insider that millennials are splurging on pet products because they're having children later.
"They're adopting pets and transferring some of their parenting urges onto them first," she previously told Insider.
"As they become higher earners than before, they can spend on things that have less of a functional purpose," she added.
Wealthy millennials — especially men — are snatching up electric vehicles more than any other generation, data from the consumer-insights firm J.D. Power shows. The hefty price tag makes these cars the ultimate status symbol. According to a recent analysis from Consumer Reports, most new EVs are luxury models that cost over $61,000, which is $12,000 more than the industry average.
Tesla's cheapest EV, the Model 3, has a starting price of $40,240. Its most expensive EVs, the Model S and Model X, can cost up to $108,500.
But there are other reasons this purchase is a big financial commitment. While it's possible to use public charging stations, it is most convenient to charge these vehicles at home overnight. Some models might require a special charging outlet that can be expensive to install and likely not an option for renters, which makes the product even more exclusive.
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Some millennials are buying homes and designing every room with painstaking detail. Even utility and laundry rooms are becoming a focal point for high-end design.
The hashtags #laundryroom and #utilitylaundryroom have 1.5 billion and 1.6 billion views on TikTok, respectively, while "luxe laundry" was one of the most searched terms on Pinterest in 2022.
"It's almost the most exciting room in the house for some," Emma Sims-Hilditch, an interior designer and a cofounder of Neptune Furniture, told The Telegraph. "The functionality is great, but the aesthetic is important, too. It's almost like a competition — who's got the most beautiful utility room?'
Many of the rooms look sophisticated, with marble worktops, shiny appliances, painted cabinets, paneled or wallpapered walls, and expensive soaps by the sink.
This generation has struggled financially for years and paid sky-high rent just to share homes and apartments with strangers. Now that some own homes, they can assert perfect control over every inch of their living space down to the kind of soap next to the sink.
The trendy Australian skincare brand Aesop has cornered this side of the market with its cruelty-free and vegan hand soap that costs $40 and is often seen in hotels and restaurants. Rich millennials are bringing Aesop home to show that they're willing to splash out on the smallest of details.
L'Oreal announced plans to buy the brand for $2.5 billion in April. At the time, Nicolas Hieronimus, the CEO of L'Oreal, described its products as "a superb combination of urbanity, hedonism, and undeniable luxury," all things that appeal to wealthy millennials.
High-end glass-front refrigerators that have graced the homes of celebrities, including Kim Kardashian and Kris Jenner, are catching on. These refrigerators usually show pristinely ordered rows of fruits, vegetables, and drinks.
True Residential, the company that created Jenner's fridge, told Insider that its fridges range from $13,300 to $25,400 for larger sizes. It appeals to a demographic belonging to the "top half-percent to top 1% of annual household income," its brand manager, Chelsea McClaran, previously said.
"It's mostly aesthetics, especially at the luxury price point," McClaran said. "Most of our customers are not looking to keep up with the Joneses. They're looking to have something that nobody's ever seen before."
Some wealthy homeowners were even scrambling to get their hands on $40,000 stoves that come with six gas burners, two ovens, and an electric griddle as they looked to revamp their homes during the pandemic.
These stoves, called La Grande Cuisine 2000, were designed by L'Atelier Paris Haute Design. The company describes the stove as "jewelry for your kitchen."
Other excesses include installing not one, but two dishwashers, both out of convenience and a show of wealth.
The Starbucks generation is splashing out on coffee machines to feed their coffee addiction at home.
The Times UK writer Harriet Walker said these machines are now considered to be investment pieces among UK millennials because the cost of takeout coffee has soared.
Some of the most basic coffee machines cost around $400, according to a recent Insider review, while you can expect to pay as much as $6,000 for fancier versions.
"Like watches and handbags, a coffee machine is now an investment piece, so you may as well choose one that looks nice," Walker wrote.
Bill Gates once predicted that the launch of Expedia's online-travel site would be the end of the line for travel agents, but rich millennials with an appetite for luxury have proved him wrong.
A Flywire survey from 2022 found that 96% of responding Gen Z and millennials between the ages of 18 to 44 who consider themselves luxury travelers are more likely to use travel agents.
The survey said that 90% of respondents in this demographic said travel agents and advisors were "the only way to have a truly luxury experience."
Some luxury-travel companies they're using include Virtuoso, Knightsbridge Circle, Fischer Travel, and Scott Dunn Private. And these services don't come cheap. According to Barron's, Fischer Travel charges $150,000 membership fees and $25,000 annual fees for travel and lifestyle services.
The luxury-travel company Black Tomato told the lifestyle magazine Robb Report that the bulk of its business now comes from millennials with families, but it's also seen an increase in solo travelers in this generation who are looking to take more adventurous trips.
Older millennials are starting to approach their 40s and have watched as celebrities and influencers close to their age such as Kim Kardashian get Botox and other cosmetic procedures to defy aging.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that almost 30% of plastic surgeons saw double the business post-pandemic — largely from women aged 31 to 45 who were looking for procedures such as Botox, fillers, noninvasive fat reduction, and nonsurgical skin tightening.
Ryan Neinstein, a plastic surgeon, told The Society that the millennial desire to pursue such procedures is rooted in wellness culture.
"What I find is that most of our patients now take incredibly good care of themselves," Neinstein said. "They eat well. They exercise. They're well-read. They're well-educated. And that plastic surgery is part of the wellness cycle."
Rich millennials are keen to carve out a space in the home to hide from the stress and chaos of the real world, and a spa bathroom is the perfect representation of this.
The hashtag #spabathroom on Instagram and TikTok shows perfectly curated images and videos of neutral-colored rooms fit with plush chairs, rugs, and plants complete with massive, round bathtubs.
The interior designer Ariel Okin told Refinery29 that "creating a zen, spa-like atmosphere has become paramount in bathrooms."
"I actually think it's quite a renaissance of the Victorian era when women had a 'boudoir' attached to their bedrooms," she added.
"There's something very personal and special about that time in the morning before work or evening before a date or an event when you're getting ready for what lies ahead, and the bathroom is, in essence, a vehicle for that moment," she said.
Older millennials are starting to have children and want only the best products for them, including a $1,700 smart baby crib that can automatically rock in response to a crying baby.
The Snoo is a high-tech bassinet created by the husband-and-wife cofounders of Happiest Baby, Nina Montée Karp and Harvey Karp. Celebrities including Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson, Gigi Hadid, and Beyoncé have endorsed the product.
Now, major companies from JPMorgan to Snap are also offering the product to employees as part of their parental-benefits packages in 2023.
The brand's high-profile customers make the product a must-have for rich millennial parents.