A few months ago, Australian Millionaire Tim Gurner, blamed millennials for not making smart saving decisions, using the metaphor of them spending too much on Avocado Toast, instead of saving for buying a house down the line.
We decided that this could be something interesting to analyze on our Oval Money community to better understand the habits of our users when it comes to food and what this implies for their future financial stability.
It is of course easy to choose experiences over saving as it is easily much more gratifying to spend today than to put the same amount of money away for the future. Having brunch with friends over a delicious avocado toast, and maybe a cocktail is something to look forward to after a week of studying or work. So, does it really matter? Is the "Avocado Toast effect" real?
We asked ourselves if we could answer this question by digging deep into the data thanks to our proprietary machine learning solutions and what came out is really interesting. First, Food & Drinks (that includes restaurants, bars, and grocery store purchases) is a major category of spending for our user base, but that overall it does not impact from more than 16% of all expenditures. Spending for their home and their commuting is something that impacts the budget of Ovalers much more.
The millennial gap should be measured in terms of earnings instead of expenditures, as this generation started working just when the financial crisis happened, causing economic recessions in all European countries, and a loss of job opportunity, leading to lower salaries and unstable employment.
The data reveals in fact that food and drink expenses rise to over 26% of income for our users.
We then looked at these expenses carefully and noticed that actually our users spend on food and drink in the same places, in a recurring manner! This makes sense for grocery shopping but the morning coffee, or the local restaurant or cafe are also popular recurring expenses, that make up 50% of all food expenses.
When looking at the distribution it is actually interesting that it has a normal bell shape, showing that for a small number of users, the recurring expenses are over 90%, whilst for others just 10-20%.
We thus believe that the avocado toast recurring eaters are not a high percentage of the millenials on Oval Money and that saving money is harder to do because of the changes on earnings that make the millenial generation one of flexible income and multiple jobs.These are the ones that we believe will find Oval Money a useful tool to kick start their a stable financial future.