In 2017, more than 174 million Americans purchased gifts between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, consumers spent $643 million, up nearly 28% from last year, on cyberspending the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Millions more will be spent before the end of the year.

Shopping has become synonymous with the holidays for consumers of all ages. From older buyers being loyal to their favorite brands, to younger people doing extensive research online, seasonal shopping habits may also reflect how consumers shop for life insurance.

Let’s take a glimpse at the purchasing trends of 3 very different, yet important, generations of consumers — Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.

Who are our shoppers?

Millennials are 18-36 years old and make up the largest generation in our history at approximately 92 million. According to the Insurance Barometer Study from LIMRA and Life Happens, 51 percent of this age group does not have life insurance.


Generation X are 37-52 years old. These individuals are often described as the “sandwich generation” because many are responsible for both their children and aging parents. Financial priorities of living expenses and building a savings account take precedent over buying life insurance for this generation.1


Baby Boomers are 53-64 years old. They make up approximately half of the U.S. population and control 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income. Although they are rapidly getting used to technology, and according to the fastest growing demographic online, they still prefer face-to-face meeting concerning their financial planning.2

Make shopping for life insurance easier

Knowing the shopping habits of these consumer groups can help all of us tailor our offers and messaging to their unique purchasing preferences. When 83 percent of all age groups rank “easy to understand” as the most important factor when purchasing life insurance, we should all take this advice when communicating to the consumer.1 The above data also helps us determine a few more “shopping tips” for these audiences:

Millennials: This group wants and needs more information on the benefits of life insurance. Approach them and educate them on the benefits and affordability of coverage. Updated 2018 data: This group continues to self educate and 54% are likely to ask social media connections for recommendations.3


Generation X: With competing financial priorities they like to see options. Education on cost and availability will help them make decisions. Updated 2018 data: Generation X is still placing other expenses over life insurance, 69% said cost of living expenses is the reason for not buying life insurance.3


Baby Boomers: They are loyal customers that are becoming more technological savvy. Relationships with these clients are important to ensure they are comfortable to seek your advice. Updated 2018 data: Don’t forget to build relationships with this group online too, a study by Google shows that boomers and seniors spend more time online than they do watching TV.


Today, many are still seeking the perfect last-minute holiday present. However, life insurance professionals are available year-round to help consumers of all ages find the important gift of protection with life insurance.

  1. 2017 LIMRA and Life Happens Insurance Barometer study
  3. 2018 LIMRA and Life Happens Insurance Barometer study


How much does life insurance cost a Millennial?

by Beth Millay on August 23, 2017

I recently shared something very private in a very public forum. It may even be something you do, too. No, it wasn’t a deep dark secret – it was my monthly subscription spending! Yes, I’m that person. I have gym memberships, product deliveries, online movie service and several other monthly fees that totaled more than $200 per month.

Subscription generation
My financial habits were put on display recently during a webinar ExamOne hosted about Millennial purchasing trends. Since I was born between 1981 and 1998 and am a Millennial myself, I shared this information to give a first-hand glimpse into my spending habits.

We have been called the “subscription generation,” but do you know what isn’t on many Millennials’ monthly spending list? A monthly life insurance premium isn’t always a priority. Why is that? According to the 2017 Insurance Barometer study*, three out of four millennials (73%) overestimate the cost of life insurance. On average, they incorrectly assume life insurance costs three times more than it does. This misperception is likely dissuading them from considering becoming protected by life insurance.

Life insurance probably isn’t as expensive as we think
Life Happens states that a healthy 30-year-old can get a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for about $13 a month. Most of my disposable monthly fees are around that price, but to be honest I didn’t realize it was as comparable as it is. I also think many younger people don’t realize that they could be getting the best rates and coverage when young and healthy.

Another thing I found interesting in my research was that 50% of Millennials say no one has approached them to buy life insurance. Yes, my generation conducts most research online, has high customer service expectations, and can be picky about brands we buy, but we also appreciate advice from an expert. The Insurance Barometer study found 42% of Millennials surveyed want to buy life insurance through an agent or advisor.

Talk to me about life insurance
So instead of making fun of the box full of outfits, toys and treats for their pets some Millennials have delivered to their door every month, engage us in a conversation about how life insurance is an important step in our financial maturity. Show us the importance and affordability of such a decision. It’s a subscription for protection. I’ll buy that.

For more purchasing and laboratory trends of the largest generation in our history, watch our on-demand webinar.  You will see insight behind my (now very public) list of monthly Millennial “necessities” and how my generation decides where to spend our money.

* The 2017 Insurance Barometer study, conducted by LIMRA and Life Happens

Webinar: Millennial behavior and laboratory insights

August 11, 2017 Carriers

Did you know there are 1.8 billion Millennials worldwide? Their purchasing behavior has redefined how businesses position their messaging, products and services. According to the 2016 Insurance Barometer study, 43% of millennial households own individual life insurance. So what do insurers and producers need to know when targeting millennials? And what trends are we seeing […]

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Path to opportunity: Life insurance products may be infrequent purchases, but the need to protect one’s loved ones is daily

October 20, 2016 Carriers

In our recent blog series on the “paths of opportunity” for the life insurance industry, we have addressed the applicant focus and the importance of data for individualized underwriting. Now we will focus on the need for consumers to better understand their own wellness. As I travel the country speaking to clients individually and at […]

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