Written by Alfonso Elizondo
In light of the major conflicts in the world today, led mostly by the generation of so-called baby boomers who were born between 1945 and 1960, as well as the virtual non- participation in political and economic life by Generation X, also called the ‘yuppies’ (1960-1975), I will try to briefly analyse Generation ‘Y’ (1980-1995) also known as millennials. They have begun to participate in all activities in the current world in a totally different way from previous generations, perhaps because they are digital natives who can only see the world through their contact with other people via smart phones. Virtual reality opens up many possibilities and options so that the various brands can allow the world to be seen anywhere and anytime without the traditional information and communication media.
As a consequence of the digital revolution, millennials do not accept any slowness or interruption during the consumption period, giving rise to two major transformations: communication is becoming symbolic and is increasingly visual. ‘Emojis’ are images recorded on smart phones to express various concepts without words, such as the smiley face that indicates pleasure, or the hand with the raised thumb which means agreement or the hands clapping to celebrate a certain event. In this way all activities and contact with the outside world are much shorter. If shopping in that world is reduced to a ‘click’, the obvious choice is the one that is in the person’s mind at that moment. That makes it possible for brands to always be available and try to anticipate what the customer wants.
The digital revolution allows humans to express their difference from others and their individual characteristics at all times. Millennials always think in terms of their individuality and they reject tradition. More than half of millennials believe that there are sexes other than male and female. So they are moving away from the concept of the traditional monogamous family and creating new notions of conjugal life without responsibilities of any kind. In addition, they always look for what is authentic, different and creative through their favorite brands.
Millennials are distinguished by the fact that they pay close attention to the consequences of their actions and especially to what they spend. They no longer rely on the relationship between quality and price as their parents did, but on the broader notion of value, so they have changed the traditional way brands used to do sales and promotions.
At the same time, millennials are very interested in the culture of collaboration which has been greatly expanded with the digital system, developing new consumption habits that are different from traditional brand-consumer behavior, and that involve sharing information and mutual assistance. This new ‘peer-to-peer’ philosophy can be found in all areas, including the media they have created to entertain or educate people with similar ideas. Since millennials want to travel a lot, they no longer want to stay in hotels, but in predetermined places with people like themselves. The best known site for millennials to decide on their accommodation overseas is’ airbnb.com’, the acronym for air bed & breakfast. There are also many other sites where ‘peer-to-peer’ can be used for very different activities, such as ‘peer-to-peer lending’ for getting loans from other millennials.
More than 80% of millennials dissociate themselves from pessimists and are investing in areas related to new experiences, a situation that did not exist in previous generations. So brands are investing in the field of new experiences rather than in the field of products and services. They do not try to create brand experiences, but to create an experience to shape the brand.
In terms of health, young millennials run, practice yoga and have replaced alcohol with natural juices. They monitor their health with devices connected to electrical circuits because they believe that health is capital that must be preserved at all cost. So they avoid danger, just the opposite of what their parents did.
Millennials always expect greater social and environmental responsibility from existing companies. Almost 70% of millennials are more attracted to responsible brands and as they discover the irresponsibility of state enterprises they have been turning to private sector companies that are more responsible.
Addendum: Contrary to what was expected based on an analysis of the main characteristics of the millennial generation, the first one to rise to a public position of great significance, Emmanuel Macron, the current President of France, has acted in a contradictory manner, trying to rebuild the past by forming his cabinet with politicians of the older generations.