By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
The Hillz, working in pajamas, wall posts, Obama, avatars, and an aversion to vowels are just a few of Gen Y’s favorite things. At the beginning of the new millennium, there was a lot of hubbub about this new generation: the up and comers with tremendous amount of spending influence, a completely new world-view and what Gen X might call, the new kids on the block.
With Boomers retiring at the rate of one every ten minutes (nearly 64 million by the end of the decade) and Gen X moving onward and upwards, Gen Y were the young, fresh faces. They dressed differently (customizable kicks) , didn’t like the 9-5 way of thinking and couldn’t give you eye-contact because they were busy texting about you to their friend in Bangladesh, which they will then post on their virtual wall. Gen Y is quickly transforming the workplace and marketplace in a very big, customizable way.
They’ve been called Echo Boomers, Millennials, the Net Generation, Generation Y, but because brevity is of great importance, let’s go with Gen Y. (Though a Wikipedia search for Millennials will re-direct to the Generation Y page, there is a difference–albeit subtle. A Millennial is between the ages of 8 and 27, making their birth years between 1982 and 2001.)
To understand the mindset of Gen Y, you have to understand the environment into which they were born. Gen Y came of age during a time that saw unprecedented economic growth (late 1990s)–shaping their expectations of themselves and the world around them. Though the birth years vary, the accepted range is from 1980-1999. The math makes them between 10 and 29 and nearly 25% of the U.S. population.
They are more tech-savvy, family-centric, flexible, non-conforming and attention-getting than their parents and are greatly changing the way we do business. In the upcoming days, we are going to post a series of articles that discuss the many facets (marketing, workplace, mentality, trends) that make Gen Y powerful buyers, thinkers and movers and shakers.
This Gen Yer’s Perspective
The rule of thumb for writing articles, is to not be in the story–be an objective observer. Considering I’m in Gen Y, for this post, I am going to scrap the rules to give you some perspective. Right now, writing this, illustrates the defining characteristics of Gen Y. I am in bed, in my pajamas, sipping on tea, checking the clock (10:49pm), and listening to Girls Next Door in the background. I have 17 tabs open in my browser: research for this post, new sites I’m checking out, Google’s RSS reader with all of my favorite feeds, writing this in Google Docs, a YouTube video of a song I’m in love with right now and random sites I’ll look at later.
In my research, I was hoping to debunk some of the myths and assumptions about Gen Y. But what I’ve found is strikingly on point. Though not all traits of Gen Y define my lifestyle, I know at least someone that measures up to the diverse characteristics of Gen Y.