The Echo Boom Statistics

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

Consumer Profile

  • 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
  • Optimistic
  • Independent and self-reliant: Used to doing it (and many other things) themselves
  • Multi-taskers
  • 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

Work Behaviors

  • 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

Marketing Preferences:

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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