For the past generations, young adults in their 20s who were renting apartments were focused on trying to save money to purchase their first home. Now, priorities have shifted for some millennials.
Instead of setting aside their income to become first-time homeowners, millennials are now saving for their next house plant.
To cover their walls and nooks with parts of nature, some even spend thousands of dollars—almost the same amount as their monthly rent. They cut down trips to coffee shops and are now choosing to prepare their own meals at home just to save for their next purchase.
However, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t like owning their own home someday. For many 20 to 30-something millennials, having their own white picket fence and dream abode is still a bit far-fetched.
So, as an alternative, they splurge on greenery to make their rentals feel homier and inviting. In order to achieve that aesthetic and vibe, millennials spend hundreds to thousands of dollars just on houseplants.
In 2018, a quarter of the $48 billion spent on lawn and garden products that year was from the millennial market. Because of the demand growth in this market niche, online plant delivery start-ups such as Bloomscape, the Sill, and Rooted have gained a footing in the business in recent years. The newer generations’ inclination to online shopping also provided a boost.
As a generation exposed to social media, hashtags such as #urbanjungle, #plantparenthood, and #succulentsunday have created hype around houseplants and have made it tempting to digital natives like the millennials.
Millennials actually consider houseplants important for their overall well-being as it can help them cope with long workdays in bustling-yet-cramped cities—sometimes working without job security.
They are even willing to increase their plant budgets and are not rushing to buy their own homes. The homeownership percentage of millennials in 2015 was recorded at 37%; 8 points lower than the previous generation when they were their age.
Some admit that they can easily be tempted to overspend on greenery. If they run out of space in their small or shared apartments, some millennials would rather move out of the city than to give up their plant habit.
However, they still think that their plant expense is on a different—and much lower—magnitude compared to saving money for real estate that they just couldn’t afford. In the current real estate market, homes in San Francisco have price tags with an average amount of nearly $1.6 million in 2019.
The increase of plant purchases has been linked to health and wellness, design trends on social media, and the urge to be closer to nature in the middle of a concrete jungle. According to Sill’s Erin Marino, plants make for trendy decors that were usually associated with high-end finishes that homeowners invest in. It has somewhat become a symbol of their aspirations.
Millennials may not yet be able to afford their dream home while still paying off student loans, but they have plants that fit right into their budget. For this generation, it feels good to see their hard work become something.