Study: 94% of Crypto Buyers are Gen Z/Millennial, but Gen X is Outspending Them

Posted by Frank Gogol

Key Findings

– 94% of all cryptocurrency buyers are Gen Z or Millennials (18-40 years old)

– Gen X buyers purchased an average of $9,611 crypto last year while Millennials bought $8,596 and Gen Zers bought $6,120

– Millennial crypto buyers have 5.4x more student loan debt, 2.3x more auto loan debt, and 1.7x more student loan debt than the nation average

Between Bitcoin hitting a trillion-dollar valuation for the first time and the increasing interest in things like Ethereum and NFT art, cryptocurrency has been making a lot of waves lately.

Over crypto’s 13-year existence, there’s been a lot of speculation about the viability of digital currency. While the futures of things like Bitcoin and Ethereum are still being decided, some aspects of what’s driving the growth of crypto today are clear.

We wrote recently about how lower-FICO score buyers are helping to drive crypto’s growth. This got us thinking about other ways to look at our data to better understand who is a crypto buyer. We wanted — if crypto is the way of the future — who’s paying the way for the future?

94% of Crypto Buyers are 18-40 Years Old

Before we dove into spending on crypto, we want to get a better understanding of how cryptocurrency buyers breakdown by generation:

The common perception around crypto is that it’s a young person’s market, and our data backs that up.

Age GroupShare of Users
Gen Z (18-24)17.40%
Millenial (25-40)76.46%
Gen X (41-56)4.93%
Boomer (57+)1.22%

Buyers in the Gen Z and Millennials buckets make up nearly 94% of all crypto buyers — compared to just 6.14% across all other buyers over the age of 40. 

Looking a little closer, Gen Z buyers outnumber Gen X buyers by 3.5x and Boomer buyers by 14.3x.

Millennial buyers outnumber Gen X buyers by 15.5x and Boomer buyers by 62.9x.

So not only is crypto a young buyer’s game — it is by a very wide margin.

The data shows that there’s a clear correlation between age and the likelihood to buy cryptocurrency — the older you are, the less likely you are to make a purchase

But who is spending the most on cryptocurrency?

Gen X Crypto Buyers Outspend Gen Z and Millennial Buyers

Now that we established who is buying crypto, we wanted to look at how much crypto buyers in our age buckets were spending.

Excluding the Boomer bucket — which only accounts for 1.2% of all crypto buyers — the data showed that each older age group consistently bought more and more cryptocurrency than those buyers in each previous, younger bucket.

Age GroupAverage Spend
Gen Z (18-24)$6,120.00
Millenial (25-40)$8,596.00
Gen X (41-56)$9,611.00
Boomer (57+)$4,567.00

Even though Gen X buyers only make up 4.9% of all crypto buyers, they bought an average of $9,611 in cryptocurrency over 12 months, or:

  • 1.6x more than Gen Z buyers
  • 1.1x more than Millennial buyers

Older people — who’ve had more time to advance in their careers and who have access to large lines of credit — have more spending power and disposable income.

How those individuals are spending that money on crypto — especially compared to younger buyers — is a bit surprising, though.

As mentioned above, younger Gen Z and Millenial crypto buyers outnumber older buyers — by ~15x. So, it would be easy to chalk this all up to older investors’ uncertainty about an emerging and potentially volatile market and younger buyer’s willingness to take more risk.

But the data tells a different story.

It shows clearly that, not only are Gen X crypto buyers outspending younger buyers, but also that there’s also a correlation between increasing age and bigger spending on crypto.

So, while younger crypto buyers far outnumber the Gen X buyers, Gen X buyers, on average, spending more on cryptocurrency.

Millennial Crypto Buyers Have More Debt Than the National Averages

Lastly, we wanted to look at the average debts among Gen Z and Millennial crypto buyers — who make up the bulk of all crypto buyers — to see how they compare the debt totals of an average American household.

The data showed that 40-and-under crypto buyers have more debt than the average U.S. household when it comes to credit cards and auto loans. Millennials — who make up about three-quarters of all crypto buyers — all have more debt than the national average when it comes to student loans and personal loans.

Avg. U.S. HouseholdGen Z (18-24)Millennial (25-40)
Credit Card$5,315$11,181.87$28,673.36
Student Loan$38,792$36,546.91$66,507.45
Auto Loan$19,703$39,803.92$45,516.68
Personal Loan$16,458$11,702.74$26,927.91

Credit card debt and auto loan debt are among the most common and accessible kinds of credit lines available to younger people. These products are heavily used when building a new life.

Gen Z crypto buyers, on average, have:

  • 2.1x more credit card debt than the national average
  • 2.0x more auto loan debt than the national average

Millennial crypto buyers, on average, take on even more debt with:

  • 5.4x more credit card debt than the national average
  • 1.7x more student loan debt than the national average
  • 2.3x auto loan debt than the national average
  • 1.6x more personal loan debt than the national average

Gen Z and Millennial crypto buyers often have more limited access to various types of credit and the options they do have tend to be higher-interest loans and lines of credit. Couple that with increased costs of living for younger generations, and it’s easy to see why their debt balances are significantly higher than that of older generations.

But, in spite of more limited access to credit and greater amounts of debt, Gen Zers and Millennials are still putting their money — and hopes — into cryptocurrency in a big way.


Methodology

The transaction-related data used in this report was collected from more than one million unique transactions made by 1,536 Stilt applicants between February 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021. All debt-related data was collected from the same Stilt applicants during the same period.

This data was prepared by Rohit Mittal, Stilt’s CEO and former Data Scientist with POPSUGAR and Verisk Analytics.

Additional data regarding debt in the U.S. obtained through publicly available data published by Bankrate:

https://www.bankrate.com/personal-finance/debt/average-american-debt/

The findings of this report are based on an analysis of that data. Cryptocurrency purchase statistics were determined by averaging all transaction amounts of users in specific age ranges (18-24, 25-40, 41-56, and 57+) during the dates noted above. Average debt statistics were determined by averaging the debts, by type, of individuals included in this study.

Stilt “applicants” include both Stilt customers and those who still could not offer services. Applicants include, but are not limited to: naturalized citizens, green card holders, visa holders, asylum-seekers, and other designations of immigrants in the U.S. as well as non-immigrant U.S. citizens.

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