Our generation seem to have certain tags we can’t escape from. Entitled and selfie obsessed on the one hand; tech-savvy, high achievers on the other. We can’t seem to catch a break.
A few studies conducted by the Pew Research Centre and Gallup have tagged us with yet another label: commitment-phobes.
According to the Pew research, millennials are less likely to be married in their 20s than previous generations, while Gallup found a whopping 64% of 18-29 year olds were single in 2014, having risen from 52% in 2004. The 30- 39 age group also saw a rise of singledom, growing from 15% to 19% over the same period.
So what is going on? Why are we struggling to commit?
Relationship counsellor Hailee Walker deals with a predominantly millennial demographic in her work, and suggests there are multiple issues at play.
#1 Choices, choices
“This generation is one that’s spoilt for choice,” says Hailee. “Too much choice is paralysing; the more options we have, the more we fear we’ll make the wrong decision.”
This “choice overload” idea was first discussed in detail by Stanford Psychologist Mark Lepper and Professor Sheena Iyengar back in 2000. In their research they founds shoppers were more likely to buy a jar of jam if presented with six choices. When presented with 24 types of jam, the shoppers experienced this decision paralysis that Hailee suggests hinders our commitment.
We aren’t just talking relationship commitment either. We’re talking in all aspects of life from careers to politics, where we just don’t seem to get attached to any one thing, idea or group.
Take for example the Walker Sands’ 2014 Future of Retail Study. It found 18- to 25-year-old consumers are 90% more likely than those 60 years old or older to have rented a product instead of bought one.