Below is an outline on the characteristics of members of the echo boom, Generation Y, the echo boomers. Keep in mind that this is a generalization, an observed concept, and not a conclusive description. Not all echo boomers will identify with this, but it might demonstrate overall trends.
Demographics of Gen Y
- Born from 1977-2001 (estimated)
- Aka. Echo Boomers or Millennials
- Children of Baby Boomers, some children of Gen X
- Oldest holding entry level positions in workforce; youngest in elementary/middle school
- Nearly 80 million in population (larger than the baby boomer population of 72 million)
- Ethnically diverse (34% are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American)
- One in four live in single–parent households
- 75% have working mothers
- The next dominant generation of Americans.
- Gen Y population will be 32% of total population.
- Average weekly spending by teenagers = $84 per week ($57 of own; $27 or parents)
- Annually: $25B of own money and influence another $187B in purchases
- 66% have savings accounts; 22% have checking accounts; 18% have their own stocks and bonds
- Dollar savvy with adult buying habits and sophisticated tastes (clothing, dining, recreation)
- Majority grew up in dual income families
- Raised as consumers in a media saturated, brand conscious world
- Fostered a distrustful and cynical view of advertising as a whole
- Marketing is most effective as unvarnished truth, irony and humor.
- Likely to support “cause-related” marketing (83% willing to switch brands for a good cause if price and quality were equal)
- Get news on the latest and greatest, what’s hot and up-to-the-minute cool from the Internet – their primary media vehicle
- 1/3 of life on the Internet
- The average echo boomer has at least 2 email addresses.
- First generation to grow up with computers in the home.
- Email is preferred form of communication along with text messaging and instant messaging.
- Enjoy tech gadgets (video games, cell phones, mp3 players.
How do Gen Yers think?
- Conceptual Abilities
- Parallel (rather than linear) thinkers
- Higher input/output
- Apt to begin tasks randomly – perhaps in the middle – as opposed to a traditional starting point
- Graphics oriented, see text as supporting visual material
- Thrive on change and variety.
- Demand quick, if not instant, gratification
- Upbeat, confident, and assertive with high self esteem
- Independent and self-reliant: Used to doing it (and many other things) themselves
- Asserting their “intellectual authority” over parents, teachers, employers because they are more techno-savvy and capable of accessing greater breadth of information quickly.
- High value for education
- 90% of HS seniors expect to attend college
- Strive to continue education through life
- Motivated and Goal-Oriented
- Diverse and Tolerant
- Strong dislike for racism in any form, sexism and homophobia
- High in Volunteerism
- Invest in the social and community causes
- What do Gen Yers value most in life? Family, traditional values, country, planet
- Unlike the Baby Boomer generation, Gen Yers value things other than income and status as being primary in life
- Desire to work in highly motivated and committed teams
- Need to be challenged – look for opportunities for growth, education, apprenticeship
- Strive to work hard and do well
- Up to 20% of their time is spent alone
- Includers – they make people feel welcome and involved
- Lofty financial goals – remember they are spenders!
- Trained to be “Doers and Achievers”
- Limited Employer loyalty – Jobs for life are replaced with short-term contracts
- May have many different “careers” and diverse education/background
- 1 in 5 will be self employed
- Old age postponed by “senior participation”
- 1 in 5 Gen Y women will choose to remain childless
Sell a lifestyle based on trust and emotion – not a product. McD’s now playing Hip Hop music and not talking about their juicy burgers. Why? Selling lifestyle: diversity is key and everyone looks like they are having fun with friends while eating at McDs – it’s about lifestyle. Those who might not like McDonald’s may not like it because they prefer a different lifestyle – perhaps a healthier lifestyle?
- Brand conscious – seek to figure it out what brand aligns with their preferences, lifestyle, standards
- Prefer directness over subtlety, action over observation, cool
- It’s not about reaching the masses; it’s about building a community. Gen Y is community based. Rely on reviews, word of mouth.
- Jones Soda: their website urges fans to send in photos for possible use on their labels. The odds of actually getting selected are low – only 40 are picked each year – but the lure is irresistible because it is interactive. Jones creates an emotional connection. Gen Yers buy Jones Soda not because they are thirsty, but because they want to make a fashion statement…drinking Jones makes you cool!
- Social networking is a tool created by Gen Y to reinforce their communal thinking and a soap box for spreading ideas/preferences through word of mouth.
These statistics in full detail can be found at Who Are the Gen Y Students, a presentation performed by Jessica Morgan at a Student Affairs retreat for California State – Chico.
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