Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), often get bond into other monikers like Generation Next, Net Generation, Echo Boomer. These titles describe the demographic cohort following Generation X. The name Echo Boomers refers to the size of the generation and its relation to the Baby Boomer generation.
Every generation has an archetype and while statistics admit to not defining the year of birth exactly for Millennials, it ranges from 1976 to 1982. However, it is important to note that in China the birth years of the so-called Millennials don’t exist at all because of the rapid rate of change in that country, those demographics are known as post ‘70s, post ‘80’s and post ‘90’s generations.
What do we know about them? Their purchasing power is enormous, and as a business owner, your future success depends greatly on winning them over. In the 1997 book, The Fourth Turning, authors William Strauss and Neil Howe suggests that modern history repeats itself every four generations. The authors describe that four-cycles always come in the same order. The first one, the High cycle, occurs when a new order or human expansion is developed, replacing the older one. The next cycle is called the Awakening. More spiritual than the previous, this is a time of rebellion against the already established order. The third cycle is known as the Unraveling, when elements of individualism and fragmentation take over society, developing a troubled era which leads directly to the Fourth Turning, an era of crisis dominating society during which a redefinition of its very structure, goals and purposes is established.
Of these four divisions of type, come what the authors indicated are the: Prophet, Nomad, Hero and Artist. According to the aforementioned book, Millennials belong to the Hero category, featuring a deep trust in authority and institutions; being somewhat conventional, but still powerful. They grew up during an Unraveling cycle with more protections than the previous generation (Gen X). They are heavily dependent on team work, and thus, when they come of age, turn into the heroic team-working young people of a Crisis. In their middle years, they become the energetic, decisive, and strong leaders of a High cycle; and in old age, they become the criticized powerful elders of an Awakening cycle. Another previous generation that belongs to this category is what was called The Greatest Generation (1916–1924).
As a baby boomer myself, I find that this information indicates a proactive need to the global business community to be keenly aware of the each generation’s motives, inputs, imprints and categorizations to reach them effectively and frequently. Currently, the spending data suggest that Millennials are spending upwards of $200 billion annually. One study has suggested, in fact, that their influence on spending reaches as much as half of all spending power in the economy. Records indicate that Millennials are 100 million strong and by far are the largest generations in U.S. history.
What else do we know? Generation Next, AKA Millennials, who were college students, born between 1982–1992, were frequently in touch with their parents and they used technology at higher rates than people from other generations. I can attest to this as a parent of one. Still to this day, my son uses his technological skills to reach out to me in various forms of communication. I often find myself asking him “how to” do something on one of my gadgets. Other surveys have found that 97 percent of these students owned a computer, 94 percent owned a cell phone and 56 percent owned an MP3 player. They also found that students spoke with their parents an average of 1.5 times a day about a wide range of topics. Other findings revealed 76 percent of students used instant messaging, 92 percent of those reported multitasking while instant messaging, 40 percent of them used television to get most of their news, and 34 percent of students surveyed used the Internet. Generation Y’s online presence is growing, as evidenced by the website GenerationYGirl.com founded in 2011 to provide a voice for women coming of age in the recession.
As many of our readers of the magazine and perhaps even our Facebook page are women, I think it important to point out the power that you women have more now than ever before. Be sure to utilize your tech-savvy selves to help us understand your needs, wants and desires. We didn’t know until recently that a lot of you think that email is beginning to be treated as a spam warehouse, so we should take note not to try and use it to reach this demographic. We do know what you think of social media and we continue to try and advance our skills at reaching you Y’ers through it. Marketers pay close attention because the edgier designs and traditional molds to reach these savvy consumers require you to incorporate a new architectural paradigm approach. Throw away those old molds and bring on the buzz creations immediately!