Generation ‘Y’ and Shopping

generation-yIf your time is taken up with Facebook, WhatsApp, Amazon, the latest hit diet, Game of Thrones, your ambition and family then the chances are you belong to Generation Y.

Generation Y was born between the early 80s and the early 90s. Every generation is different and when you were born affects the types of things you will be interested in. When you’re born also influences your shopping behaviour in terms of what you will buy and how you will make that purchasing decision.

Gen Y is different than other generations in almost every facet of their lives. Those that belong to the generation were educated differently, they have had a different upbringing and experience different culture and customs to that of others. People who are part of Gen Y want to experience different things and they are more confident than previous generations. They want to leave the nest as soon as they can to experience the world.

The decade that you are born in, as mentioned, influences your purchasing behaviour because of the set of values and expectations you were raised with. It is worth noting that there are individual differences and not everyone is the same. Although people do make some purchasing decisions based on arbitrary factors like age and gender, others are made based on intellect, choices and personal character. The reality is that it’s wrong to stereotype.

It isn’t appropriate to assume that every member of Generation Y is the same. Just like everyone has different hair and different political views, everyone’s attitudes are different as well, and Generation Y members have different habits. They can’t all be lumped under the same umbrella.

Although the term, Generation Y originated in America, it has been adopted by many countries and traits have been observed in Australia, Asia and Europe as well.

Although we can determine some traits on time of birth it can be more valuable to consider the motivations and tendencies of each generation. When we do so, we can better understand how and what motivates people to make the purchasing decisions they do. Their motivations determine how they choose their fashion, how to shop and their career etc.

It has been said that Generation Y is the largest consumer group in the US, however, if we look further afield to Japan and Europe Generation Y makes up a smaller portion of their market. The important thing to note here is that people are used to being sold to rather than given the chance to make choices on their own.

In the United States, a quarter of the population lives in a single parent family, whereas 75% has a working mother and a third do not consider themselves to be Caucasian. The reason this is relevant is that how someone is raised, both the environment and their family, determine what their shopping behaviour will be. That includes how they make decisions, where they will shop, what they will buy and how much they will spend. This is only scratching at the surface and. Further research is needed.

Every generation has been shaped by the world events that occurred when they were growing up and some of the events that may have shaped Generation Y are the following:

  • Gulf War 1991.
  • The Attacks of September 11th, 2011
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami on Boxing Day 2003
  • Hurricane Katrina.
  • The Bali bombings
  • Watching The Simpsons.
  • Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.
  • Pokemon.
  • PlayStation and Nintendo becoming more popular. Even earlier than that would be the Sega Master System followed by the Sega Mega System.
  • Listening to Hip-hop, house and RnB (the modern version!) on your MP3 or iPod.
  • Using the internet as a social device and embracing social media.
  • Creating and reading blogs, and more recently vlogs on YouTube.
  • YouTube, Myspace, Facebook, online shopping, MSN Messenger.

Gen Y is ambitious, narcissistic and has a very short attention span. They don’t care much for the convention so companies need to be innovative to keep up with them. Generation Y likes to do things their own way and they like to determine their futures.

They love sharing on the internet and are conscious of the value of consumer goods. They enjoy snapping up a bargain and using coupons and discount codes to save money. It is essential that online retailers cater their products and services to match their consumer audience. Before they purchase they are more likely to share the item on Facebook or Instagram and seek the views of their friends. They don’t want to make decisions on their own like previous generations did.

Despite being confident and despite having strong views based on world knowledge, Generation Y is still like other generations. They will care what others think and want to be liked.

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