The 'FOMO Epidemic' and Why It Matters to Millennial-Hungry Businesses

Nearly 70 percent of millennials experience 'fear of missing out' – and it's influencing their purchasing decisions.

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By Kate Taylor

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you know what FOMO is? If you're an entrepreneur, it's time to learn.

FOMO stands for "fear of missing out." You probably know the feeling – especially if you're a millennial.

According to a new study by Eventbrite, 69 percent of millennials experience FOMO when they can't attend something that their family or friends are going to. "For millennials, FOMO is not just a cultural phenomenon, it's an epidemic," the report reads.

The survey polled nearly 2,100 adults, 507 of whom were millennials ages 18 to 34.

While it sounds like an infectious disease, FOMO has helped create a booming industry focused on live events. Three out of four millennials would rather spend money on experiences, like concerts, festivals, sports or parties, instead of buying tangible products.

Related: 4 Ways to Start Preparing the Future Leaders of Your Organization Now

Why do millennials favor experiences over physical purchases? One part of the puzzle is that millennials see shared experiences as key to bonding: 79 percent feel that going to live events with others helps deepen their relationships and 69 percent believe that attending events makes them feel more connected to other people. Plus, the rise of social media fuels FOMO and feelings of exclusion for millennials scrolling through posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about events they missed.

Entrepreneurs have been cashing in on millennials' love for live experiences by inventing new venues where teens and twenty-somethings can take Instagram shots that make all their friends jealous. Three of the fastest growing categories in terms of Eventbrite ticket sales are concerts and music festivals, beer and food festivals, and color, costume and themed runs.

There's still time for entrepreneurs to craft their own FOMO-inducing events, as millennials don't look like they'll be reining in on their experience-based spending any time soon. Seventy-two percent of millennials say they would like to increase their spending on experiences rather than physical things in the next year.

Related: How Russell Simmons Plans to Style and Inspire Millennials Through Fashion

Kate Taylor

Reporter

Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

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