Now you must be wondering why would I care about getting to know the biggest chunk of the consumer market or, to put it simply, Millennials (anyone between the age of 18 and 34 in the year 2015). Well, it is because I am a millennial and I cater to an audience that consists primarily of millennials. And although I have still not figured out who I am, this is my attempt at helping you understand a generation.
And what made me think of it, is hearing a Radio Jockey lamenting about millennials while I was at the gym this morning. Also, I am pretty sure you folks have seen a video making the rounds on Facebook about how millennials are just a bunch of entitled pricks. It is quite easy to see why millennials are perceived that way. Allow me to elaborate.
Now throwing in all millennials under one blanket would be stupid generalisation. I am not saying that every millennial wants the same things or lives the same way but there are characteristics traits of this generation that are quite easy to see.
Owning a house or buying a car used to be a measure of achievement, but not to the millennials. Research has proven that millennials prefer renting to ownership. I never bought a house (perhaps a decision I will regret in a couple of decades) because mobility is key to me. I would like to live someplace central and also close to work. And for that, I will continue to rent a house.
On the other hand I own a car, sure, which I bought when I was adhering to societal norms of success. But I don’t think I will flip it or upgrade for a long time to come, simply because I love it and also because I do a lot of road trips. Going to keep it till I can no longer drive it perhaps.
And the reason for this is simple. I would rather invest my money on experiences than ownership. There always is an Uber if I wanted to get someplace in a car. As for the house, who knows where I will be 2 year from now. The last thing I want is a structure tying me down or giving me anxiety of who will I rent it out to and how will it be maintained.
The concept of ownership is no longer significant.
And then you see every single person bitten by the travel bug. Everybody has #wanderlust on their Tinder and Instagram bios. But there is a logic to it. The more you travel, the wider your horizon of thinking, the more the diverse experiences you collect, the more stories you have to tell and the more happier you are. It has been proven (through research of course) that travel and collecting experiences leave you with a lot more joy than material possessions.
Because possessions age and you lose interest in that new iPhone or Yeezy sneakers as soon as the next one is out. But your vacations, you treasure forever. And these experiences make you a happier, well-rounded individual. Your life feels fuller, your perspectives are not narrow. Millennials value time spent with their friends and family, experiencing things although it may not be typical of earlier generations.
When you catch up with friends after a while you tell them about how you almost ate the Balut in Philippines rather than about that new Louis Vuitton wallet/handbag you bought when in Paris!
Maybe a part of this behaviour came about from the fact that millennials took student loans to complete their education. Just like I did. And I spent 5 years paying it back. Of course, I am bad at money and it is not like the loan amount was massive. But you see how that impacts you and you no longer want to have financial burdens to worry about.
See, I don’t care about prosperity and riches. Sure, I would love to own a Jaguar F-Type and wear a Rolex. But nobody working a 9 – 5 gets to do that.
And if you wanna quit and do something on your own, the last thing you need is the worry of a car instalment or a property mortgage. At the end of the day, your car can always be stolen/damaged and your house can always deteriorate/be burgled. But those experiences and learning will always stay and keep enriching your life.
Having said that, I was never rewarded for my mediocrity. I have faced the wrath of my mom whenever I got anything lower than an A in school. I obviously was not great at academics which they realised eventually and was more inclined towards art. Which is what I try and stick to, through evolution of medium. It was sketching and then writing and now creative direction. Another point about millennials people throw about is how they are entitled. It is a misnomer. We don’t think we are entitled, we just expect everything to work like it is supposed to and at the right time.
If I call for a Pizza that is promised in 30 min, I want it to arrive before the end of the 29th minute with the toppings in place and the meal piping hot.
That is not entitlement, that is expecting things to work like they are supposed to. We are a generation that grew with the influx of the internet and evolution of mobile technology. We expect people to keep their word. We expect our employers to be true to their mission statement. We would like flexibility in work hours because when the need of the hour arises, we will stretch shifts. We want breaks and vacations because when we are at work, we are absolutely committed to getting the job done. Flipping that around to make us sound like we think of ourselves as royalty, couldn’t be further away from the truth.
What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments section.