GETTING INSIDE GEN YBY PAMELA PAULAmerican Demographics, Sep 1, 2001A chain e-mail has been spreading like wildfire among bewildered Baby Boomers. “Canyou believe this?” the subject heading reads. “Just in case you werent feeling too oldtoday…” What follows are some facts about todays college freshman class. Amongthem: • They do not remember the Cold War and have never feared nuclear war. • The expression “You sound like a broken record” means nothing to them. • Theres no such thing as a busy signal or no answer at all.Baby Boomers arent the only ones struggling to get their collective minds aroundGeneration Y. Companies across the country are trying to understand this next bigconsumer market: the 71 million children of Baby Boomers who are now beginning tocome of age.Gen Y, also known as Echo Boomers, has been heralded as the next big generation, anenormously powerful group that has the sheer numbers to transform every life stage itenters — just as its parents generation did. Already, even before all the members of thisgeneration have reached adulthood, businesses in nearly every consumer spendingcategory are jockeying for a piece of this market. But with a generation so complex andhuge, how can a company communicate effectively with all its members? Will businessesneed to market differently to the youngest members of Gen Y than the oldest, consideringthat this group spans 17 years?After all, Gen Ys parents, the nations 78 million Baby Boomers, have proved that theumbrella definition of a generation doesnt always makes sense, says J. Walker Smith,president of Yankelovich, a research firm based in Norwalk, Conn. In a report last year,the company argued that the most effective way to reach Boomers was to separate theminto three segments. Yankelovich classified Boomers into three subgroups: Leading Edge(those born between 1946 and 1950), Core (born between 1951 and 1959) and TrailingBoomers (born between 1960 and 1964).By studying birth patterns from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Demographics foundthat Gen Y, too, can be looked at in terms of three distinct age groups. Gen Y is usuallydefined as those born between the years 1977 and 1994; the youngest in this generation is7 years old this year, the oldest 24. We found that 36 percent of this generation hasreached adulthood; this year they will be between the ages of 18 and 24. Another 34percent are teens, currently 12- to 17-years-old; 30 percent are pre-pubescent “tweens,”ranging in age from 7 to 11 this year.
“Just like Baby Boomers, Gen Y is a very large generation, so particularly at different lifestages, it makes sense to look at them in terms of older and younger groups,” says SusanMitchell, demographer and author of American Generations . Adds Louis Pol,demographer at the University of Omaha: “Its essential to look at the different formativeexperiences within a generation — what theyve experienced and what theyve witnessedgrowing up.”Formative experiences are significant in that they help mold specific preferences andbeliefs — psychographic tendencies that marketers use in developing messages to targetvarying groups of people. Yet, formative experiences and the resultant attitudes,sensibilities, hot buttons and cultural reference points can vary for members at either end What madeof the generational spectrum. In carving up Baby Boomers into three subgroups in the 1969 a watershed1990s, Yankelovich based the segments on how old Boomers were in 1969, which it year??considered to be a watershed year in Boomer lore. Arguably, a comparably significantyear for Gen Y has not yet occurred — or if it has, historians have yet to put it inperspective.But the pace of business has changed dramatically since the 1960s, and marketers areespecially eager to understand this next generation of consumers. In an attempt to predictwhat the formative experiences and resulting psychographics may be for Gen Y,American Demographics interviewed a dozen demographers, sociologists and marketingexperts about the cultural and historical events that have taken place so far. To help usunderstand this huge generation, we asked this panel of experts to name some events thathave had enough impact to possibly become defining moments for this generation. Whilethis information is less than scientific, these opinions may provide businesses with insightinto creating more targeted marketing messages for this generation. According to theexperts, here are some recent events that have impacted Gen Ys lives today — eventsthat may shape the attitudes of this generation in the long run:COLUMBINEAlthough school violence actually decreased dramatically during the 1990s and thepercentage of high school students carrying a weapon dropped to 19 percent in 1997 from26 percent in 1991, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the attention paid toschool violence has increased exponentially. In particular, the impact of the 1999shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., and the subsequent newscoverage is likely to affect todays youth in two ways: Gen Ys are not only more careful Is this true?and watchful about their own personal safety, but they are also more wary of the newsmedias interpretation of, or intrusion into, their personal sphere.First, Columbine brought the issue of school safety and gun violence directly to familiesfront doors. In a 2000 Newsweek poll of 509 parents of teens and 306 teens nationwide,teens top fear was violence in society: 59 percent of teens say they worry about it a lot.Among parents, the poll showed that 55 percent worried about their teenagers safety onthe street and 37 percent worried about their safety at school. Concern among collegestudents is also quite high. According to the spring 2001 Student Monitor report, based
on a national survey of 1,200 undergraduates, 19 percent of college seniors think violenceis the most important domestic issue; 26 percent of freshman agree, ranking violence —alongside drugs — higher than any other issue, including AIDS and education.Tim Coffey, CEO and Chairman of the Wonder Group, a Cincinnati-based youthmarketing firm, says that Columbine showed how fears have changed for this generation.Whereas for Boomers and Gen Xers, threats came from beyond our shores in terms ofcommunism and nuclear annihilation, today its more local. “Theres more of a threatfrom within. Its in my school, my house,” Coffey says. “And that has created a bit morerisk-averseness with kids. The size of the backyard, psychologically, is a lot smaller thanit was before. Yesterdays kids ventured from one yard to the next to play after dark.They rarely do that anymore.”Second, Columbine not only made kids more fearful within their communities, its madeteens more mistrustful of the media. “I would say that even more important than the eventitself was the way in which it was handled,” says Michael Wood, vice president of theNorthbrook, Ill.-based market research firm, Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU). “Itsmade teens today very skeptical of the news and has led them to really question the news.I think they felt like the media exploited the situation and handled it as a media How doesopportunity.” In their 2000 report, “A Psychographic Analysis of Generation Y College thisStudents,” Marquette University advertising researchers Joyce Wolburg and Jim comparePokrywczynksi found Gen Ys to be alienated from and wary of the mainstream media, in with otherlarge part because they felt their views had been misrepresented on important issues. In a age groups.2001 Northwestern Mutual poll of 2,001 college seniors, “Generation 2001,” conducted Has thisby Harris Interactive, a mere 4 percent gave the the people running the press and media been typicalan “A.” of this age group in theMTV pastHaving recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, MTV is almost as old as Gen Y itself. Formost Gen Ys, MTV is as natural and ubiquitous as the Big Three Networks were for thegenerations before them. After all, even most Gen Xers didnt have cable TV in theirhouseholds until they were in their early teens. Not only does this fundamentally changethe way this generation thinks about music (remember when it was about LPs and concerttours?), according to demographer Susan Mitchell, its created a way of thinking thatimpacts many aspects of Gen Ys daily lives.In a spring 2001 Lifestyle and Media poll of 1,200 college students, MTV was by far thefavorite cable channel, with 39 percent of students calling it their top choice. Theinfluence of MTV on all kinds of media, especially those created by or targeted to thisyounger demographic has been dramatic. Mitchell thinks that MTV and video games Is thishave created a propensity toward a type of visual style that speaks specifically and observationeffectively to Gen Ys: loud graphics, rapid edits, moving cameras, etc. “That MTV style generationalof editing is impossible for adults to follow,” she says. “But I suspect that theres some or cohortdifference in todays kids hard wiring now because theyve had this rich, rapid visualgrowing up.”
Mitchell says the impact of MTV visuals extends beyond marketing and advertisingmessages in the media — into the classroom and workplace. She cites as an example anemployer who told her he had to turn to a video game format for training purposes Are these thebecause his new Gen Y employees didnt respond to a traditional training manual or result of videolecture method. Others think that the MTV video style leads to shorter attention spans, overload or normal traitsstimulation overload, chronic boredom, and even attention deficit disorder. In Next: of adolescentsTrends for the Near Future , Ira Matathia and Marian Salzman point out that forGeneration 2001, such “millennial afflictions” are widely thought to be “symptoms of anInformation Age in which kids are weaned on computers, consumer electronics and thehigh-octane programming of MTV.”CELEBRITY SCANDALS (MONICA, OJ, ETC.)The 1990s were racked by major scandals that made national spectacles of formerlyunimpeachable heroic figures — an African American football hero/spokesman and theU.S. president. According to William Strauss, co-author of Millennials Rising: The NextGreat Generation , these scandals have deeply influenced Gen Y values, which aredifferent from, and in many ways more conservative than, those of their Boomer parents.While public opinion polls showed Boomers to be more tolerant of former PresidentClintons misbehavior, teenagers thought Clinton was a hypocrite who dishonored hisoffice, Strauss says. “Thats the impact of the Clinton scandals. They liked the things hesaid, but not how he upheld his own words. They were much more judgmental of Clintonthan the public at large.”The net effect: extensive media coverage of celebrity scandals during the 1990s furtherdemystified celebrities as heroes, says Michael Wood of TRU. “Todays teens no longerhave an unquestioning admiration for public figures,” he says. “The scandals withathletes and celebrities have made teens realize that though these people are leaders,theyre also very human. Its broken down the facade that existed between celebrities and Factoid thatregular people, which I think makes them much more realistic about who they look up does notto.” The Northwestern Mutual poll of college seniors proves the point. According to the demonstratesurvey, 57 percent cited a parent as the person they admired and respected the most; an the pointadditional 8 percent named a grandparent.Wood sees the impact of celebrity scandals playing out in the long run in terms of anincreasing emphasis on privacy among todays youth. “I think the media coverage ofthese celebrities personal lives has made teens today much more conscious of their ownprivacy and has heightened their concerns about protecting their information. They do notlike the idea of companies collecting information and knowing things about them.” Thismay have started to play out already — at least in terms of online behavior. In the spring2001 Lifestyle and Media poll, four out of 10 said they were extremely or very concernedabout the safety and security of transmitting personal information online; only 8 percentwere not at all concerned.
DIVERSITYTodays kids live in a world where diversity prevails. Not only is society increasinglymulticultural, but kids today are used to a range of global viewpoints, an array ofnontraditional family types and different sexual alignments from an early age.“Look at The Real World — theres always a gay teen on there,” says Wood. While in theGen X ‘80s, homophobia in high school was rampant, many high schools today havelesbian and gay clubs. “A lesbian was named prom king in one high school this year,”Wood says. “Then there was a big story about a high school football player who broughthis boyfriend to the prom.” Public opinion polls bear out this growing tolerance. In a June2000 Medill News Service poll of 1,008 18- to 24-year-olds, 66 percent favored allowinggays into the military and only 25 percent opposed the measure outright.“I would say the single biggest influence on this generation has been the increasingdiversity of America,” says Yankelovichs J. Walker Smith. “Its changed their sense ofwhat they have permission to do, where they look for cultural styles, their whole sense ofpossibility. Because its not just ethnic and linguistic diversity — its different householdtypes. Its a global mix and match of cultures. Marketers who dont speak that languageshould go to their high school yearbook and flip through them page by page next to achilds yearbook today to see the transformation.”Gen Y attitudes reflect an interest in and acceptance of diversity in all areas of life — in Mixedthe private realm as well as in the public arena. Several major polls have shown young metaphorpeople have a broader definition of what constitutes a family; they tend to be more andtolerant of cohabitation, single parenting and extended families. The spring 2001 irrelevant factoidLifestyle and Media Monitor study reveals that half of todays college students believe we combinedwill have a black president in the next 20 years and 58 percent think there will be afemale president.THE ELECTION CRISISThe presidential election crisis of 2000 will not only go down in history, it is also likelyto influence the next generation of voters in several ways. William Strauss believes theelection will have a long-term impact on todays youth. “I think its going to make themvote more,” says Strauss. “They say theyre going to vote more than Gen Xers. Some ofthem are already starting to register.” Indeed, the spring 2001 Student Monitor study ofcollege students found that a majority has strong feelings about the need for politicalreform.Strauss sees Gen Ys reaction to the election crisis as illustrating generational differences. Another“One teenager I know said to me, ‘This just goes to show what happens when two Baby disconnectedBoomers who took drugs when they were young run against each other in an election.’” factoid. HowThe 2001 Northwestern Mutual poll of college seniors found that 44 percent are very do collegeconcerned about the political leadership in this country. Compare this with other issues seniorsthat fall low on their radar, such as nuclear war at 19 percent, and terrorism at 16 percent. compare to general population.
In addition, a meager 3 percent gave the people running the election process an “A.” Thiswas the lowest rating among Americas social and political institutions.Before the election, Gen Ys seemed cynical about their impact on the political landscape.In the Medill News Service poll, 68 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds said they had animportant but unheard voice. Yet the crisis may change their perception of the importanceof voting: only 53 percent agreed before the election that their vote would make adifference. After the debacle, that view shifted dramatically. In the spring 2001 Monitorreport, 85 percent of college students said we need a uniform and consistent method tocount votes. And 81 percent agreed with the statement, “My vote matters.”TALK SHOWS/REALITY TVFor Gen Y, anybody can be a star. We can all have our 15 minutes of fame. Everyonedeserves to have their say. According to New York-based market research firm, the ZandlGroup, “Theres a sense that everyone can be a star. Its very populist. Talk shows, realityTV and the Internet have created a mindset in which every voice gets an equal hearing.”Where does this belief come from? According to TRUs Wood, in an Oprah-infusedculture, everyones voice deserves to be heard. And with so many different points of viewout there, not only in the public arena as articulated in TV shows, but also on the Internet,teens today are less likely to believe theres one right answer. Wood says the talk showmentality has even affected the way in which todays teenagers learn. “Whats changedthe whole classroom atmosphere are shows like Jerry Springer,” he explains. “They thinkits OK to be disruptive and to challenge whats being said. Theres this ‘prove it to me’mentality. And teachers and everyone in the school environment are struggling right nowwith figuring out how to teach to that mentality.”For young people, getting heard, having your say, and becoming well known are not only The internet iseasy, they seem natural. You can create your own Web site, make a movie with your own a significantwebcam or digital camera; post your thoughts, pictures and writings online; even be on tool for organizingtelevision. Part of the draw of reality TV shows like The Real World, Survivor and divergentTemptation Island , is that “real people” can become stars. The Northwestern Mutual poll opinionsfound that college seniors ideal careers centered around fame: 19 percent dreamed ofbeing a movie actor, 15 percent a professional athlete, and 13 percent president of theUnited States.Another result of the talk show/reality transformation of television programming (as wellas the convergence of TV, the Internet and the use of the remote control), is that for thisgeneration, TV has become a more interactive, rather than passive, experience. In theirpsychographic portrait of Gen Y, advertising professors Joyce Wolburg and JimPokrywczynksi describe todays 18- to 24-year-olds as being “active channel surfers”who have “personalized technology as it developed.”
GEN YS WOODSTOCK?For Boomers, the war was in Vietnam, for Gen Y its in Kosovo. The Clintonimpeachment replaces Watergate as the government debacle of the decade. THE TOP TEN FORMATIVE EVENTS THAT MADE THE BIGGEST EXPERIENCES OF THE BABY IMPRESSION ON THE HIGH SCHOOL CLASS BOOMERS OF 2000 Are people1. Women in the workplace 1. Columbine different or2. Sexual revolutions of the Pill are their 2. War in Kosovoand AIDS cultural3. Economic expansion of the references 3. Oklahoma City bombing just different60s and early 70s4. The Space Race 4. Princess Dis death5. Rock ‘n’ roll 5. Clinton impeachment trial6. The Vietnam War 6. OJ Simpson trial7. The oil crisis of the 70s 7. Rodney King riots8. The stock market boom and 8. Lewinsky scandalbust of the 80s9. Watergate 9. Fall of Berlin Wall10. Disney 10. McGwire-Sosa homer derby Source: Class of 2000 Survey (1999). Virginia Source: Yankelovich statewide poll of 655 members of class of 2000, conducted for Neil Howe and William StraussVOICES OF THE ECHO BOOM THE FIRST WAVE: GEN Y ADULTS, AGES 18TO 24 • “My earliest memories of American history was the Challenger crash when I was in second grade. And the 1984 Olympics with Mary Lou Retton.” • “I didnt start using the Internet until 11th or 12th grade. The VCR was the most influential invention during my lifetime. Huge. Every day I tape something, its a part of my daily life.” — Caroline McClowskey, 22, writer, Milton, Mass. • “I envy the activists of the ‘60s for having the ability to unify. My generation looks out and sees a country mired in big problems and we dont know where to begin. We dont have one thing to rally around like Vietnam or segregation. So we dont have the same urge or impetus to coalesce as a generation.” • “I remember the whole OJ Simpson thing. I thought the trial was very frustrating-a lot of money and attention spent for no real reason. It was a circus.”
— Caitlin Casey, 20, Harvard junior, Washington, D.C. • “My first recollection of American history is the first Bush being inaugurated. I dont remember Reagan in office and I dont remember Challenger. I remember the Gulf War, but it didnt seem important at the time; it didnt really affect America that much. I definitely remember the L.A. riots though-that seemed kind of frightening-people in an uproar, fighting in the streets.” • “When were CDs invented? I dont remember using records. I guess CDs were the invention that had the biggest impact on me, probably more than the Internet.” — David Plattsmier, 18, high school senior, Fort Worth, TexasTHE SECOND WAVE: GEN Y TEENS, AGES 12 TO 17 • “The Berlin Wall came down when I was only 6 years old, but I remember the Gulf War pretty clearly. I was completely under the impression that we were going to save the Kuwaitis. But I was annoyed because my parents watched CNN every night and I just wanted to watch baseball.” Instant • “I think the most important invention during my lifetime was the cell phone. Messaging I just got one for Christmas. I got like 7,000 calls a day because I have the on cell easiest number to remember of all my friends. Everyone calls to find out phone whats going on.” — Tanner Rouse, 17, high school senior, Phoenixville, Pa. • “With my parents generation, you had to save money because nobody had money. But our generation always finds a way to spend money. Even if we dont need something. Even if we dont have money to spend.” • “I loved The Phantom Menace. I saw the other Star Wars movies on video DUH but they werent that good. Technologically, they just werent there yet.” — Bill Callahan, 16, high school junior, Huntingdon Valley, Pa. • “I wish I had been more aware of the Gulf War at the time. Ive never been around for a real war. Some people dont count the Gulf War as a real war, but I do. Im interested in what happens to your state of mind during wartime. World War II and the Vietnam War totally fascinate me.”
• “Kids are exposed to more adult things earlier. In the media, on the street, everywhere. People arent as secret anymore about what they do; theyre not as discreet. So kids today are much more aware of whats going on in the world.” — Peter Cohen, 15, high school sophomore, New York CityTHE THIRD WAVE: GEN Y KIDS, AGES 7 TO 11 • “I think the best invention during my lifetime was the scooter.” • “Clinton is the earliest president I can remember.” — Chris Callahan, 10, fifth-grader, Huntington Valley, Pa. • “I dont remember Clinton. Bush is the president now.” • “My parents say to me, ‘You know, we didnt even have computers when we were your age.’” — Anna Orens, 8, third-grader, Fort Bragg, Calif. • “I have my own iMac. My dad says to me, ‘Youre so lucky. We didnt have iMacs when I was little.’ I dont use the Internet at home because my Dad thinks Im not old enough yet.” • “I dont know if they were invented when I was born or before, but I think scooters are the best invention during my lifetime.” — Samantha French, 7, third-grader, New York City FORMATIVE EXPERIENCES SHAPING GENERATION Y TALKIN BOUT MY GENERATION WHAT WAS HAPPENING: GEN Y ADULTS BORN 1977-1983 AGE 18-24 GEN Y TEENS BORN 1984-1989 AGE 12-17 GEN Y KIDS BORN 1990-1994 AGE 7-11 WHEN THEY WERE BORN 1977-1983 1984-1989 1990-1994 Cold War Pope John Paul Lockerbie; officially over; II ordained; Tiananmen Warsaw Pact Iranian Square; Berlin dissolved;Around the World revolution and Wall falls; U.S. Germany hostage crisis; invades Panama; reunited; Soviets invade Chernobyl apartheid Afghanistan repealedIn the States President Carter 1987 stock crash; Bush pardons pardons Bush/Quayle beat Iran-Contra Vietnam draft Dukakis/Bentsen; convicts; dodgers; Three Oliver North Clinton/Gore
WHEN THEY WERE BORN 1977-1983 1984-1989 1990-1994 elected; World Trade Center Mile Island; testifies and is bombed; Reagan shot convicted Nixon dies; L.A. earthquake Jurassic Park; Star Wars; Home Alone Rain Man; Back to Saturday Night 2; Dances the Future; Fever; Raiders with Wolves; Beverly Hills Cop; of the Lost Ark; Pretty Indiana Jones and Grease; Animal Woman; the Last Crusade; House; Roots Nirvana hits Fatal Attraction;Culturally miniseries; Billy big and Kurt Toni Morrisons Joel wins Cobain kills Beloved; Grammy; himself; Dr. Madonnas “Like a Norman Mailer, Seuss dies; Virgin” tour; Tom Wolfe and Woodstock 94 Thirtysomething William Styron concert; debuts best-sellers Friends debuts Jim Henson dies; Pee- Wee Herman Elvis, Chaplin, arrested; Groucho Marx, “Dont Ask; Norman U.S. first officially Dont Tell” Rockwell and observes Martin policy John Lennon Luther King day; instituted; die; Kramer vs. life expectancy Michael Kramer; passes 75 years; JacksonSocially Ordinary homelessness accused of People; 10% crisis; Andy sexual unemployment; Warhol dies; harassment; affirmative Michael and first black action affirmed; Jessica most woman Michael and popular names elected to Jennifer most Senate; popular names Michael and Ashley most popular namesIn CNN and MTV Prozac debuts; GopherScience/Technology/Business launch; Pac- CDs start to Internet man; dawn of outsell vinyl; Apple interface; CDs
WHEN THEY WERE BORN 1977-1983 1984-1989 1990-1994 AIDS; first IBM outsell PC; cassettes; NutraSweet; tuberculosis artificial heart Mac with mouse resurfaces; implant; Mount debuts; Bell phone human cells St. Helens system broken up cloned; erupts; Microsoft Walkmans sales hit $1 introduced billion WHEN THEY ENTERED 1982-1988 1989-1994 1995-1999 GRADE SCHOOL Panama Gorbachev Canal turned Falklands; becomes over; bailout Grenada attack; president; Deng of Mexico;Around the World Princess Grace Xiaoping resigns; Rwanda and Brezhnev Persian Gulf massacre; die invasion; Mandela Rabin freed assassinated Columbine shooting; Challenger Bush inaugurated; Oklahoma explodes; “Star NAFTA approved; City bombing;In the States Wars” bill nixed; Clinton accused of Clinton Iran-Contra; sexual impeached; Bork borked harassment Unabomber arrested Titanic; The Sixth Sense; E.T.; Tootsie; Toy Story; The Big Chill; Home Alone; Babe; Jerry Ghostbusters; Batman; The Lion Garcia, Return of the King; Aladdin; Sinatra and Jedi; Michael Lucille Ball, Frank Ella Fitzgerald JacksonsCulturally Capra, Fellini and die; TV ratings “Thriller;” Cats Greta Garbo die; system opens; The The Simpsons debuts; Harry Cosby Show debuts; Beanie Potter fever; debuts; Babies Pokémon; Cabbage Patch Tamagochi kids and TeletubbiesSocially ERA fails; crack Robert Blys Iron WWW hits U.S.; Band John; Anita Hill becomes Aid; Rock accuses Clarence ubiquitous
WHEN THEY WERE BORN 1977-1983 1984-1989 1990-1994 with 150 million Americans Hudson dies; online; Million Thomas; L.A. Oprah Man March; riots; Woody-Mia- syndicated Pope John Soon Yi triangle; nationwide; Paul II visits Jackie O dies Sally Ride U.S.; OJ Simpson acquitted; welfare reform CDs introduced; First WWW Microsoft server; Hubble PlayStation Windows launched; Earth introduced; debuts; dawn of summit in Rio; Dolly theIn desktop home video sheep cloned;Science/Technology/Business publishing; New games sales Melissa virus; Coke; Nintendo reach 40 million; Hale-Bopp debuts; PC Apple II comet Magazine discontinued; launches Isaac Asimov dies WHEN THEY ENTERED 1989-1995 1996-2001 2002-2006 JUNIOR HIGH Ayatollah Netanyahu denounces elected; Salman Madeleine Albright Rushdie; first female U.S.Around the World U.S.S.R. secretary of state; collapses; Hong Kong Thatcher returned to China; resigns; E.U. The Euro debuts formed Exxon Valdez; Timothy McVeigh Clean Air Act; sentenced toIn the States OJ Simpson death; Monica arrest and trial Lewinsky scandalCulturally Sex, Lies, and Independence Videotape; Day; Mission: Forrest Gump; Impossible; The Philadelphia; Ice Storm; The Schindlers List; Full Monty; Philip Seinfeld and ER Roth, Rick Moody debut; Howard and Frank Cosell and McCourt best- Mickey Mantle sellers
WHEN THEY WERE BORN 1977-1983 1984-1989 1990-1994 die R.D. Laing, Bette Davis and Americans go Laurence Olivier online in vast die; flag burning numbers; Matthew banned; Shepard and BacklashSocially James Byrd published; murders; JFK Jr. NC-17 rating dies; Ellen debuts; Waco DeGeneres comes siege; River out Phoenix overdoses “Virtual reality” debuts; White Carl Sagan dies; House Web site mad cow disease built; approval of breaks out; MarsIn first genetically exploration; ViagraScience/Technology/Business engineered approved; John food; Sega and Glenn revisits Power Macs space debut Source: American Demographics BOOM, ECHO BOOMIn a certain way, Gen Ys may not be so different from their parents generation after all. LEADING CORE TRAILING BABY BOOMERS BOOMERS BOOMERS BOOMERSYEAR BORN 1946-1950 1951-1959 1960-1964CURRENT AGE 52-55 42-51 37-41PERCENT OF 23% 49% 28%GROUP ECHO BOOMERS GEN Y ADULTS GEN Y TEENS GEN Y KIDSYEAR BORN 1977-1983 1984-1989 1990-1994CURRENT AGE 18-24 12-17 7-11PERCENT OF 36% 34% 30%GROUP Source: Yankelovich Monitor, U.S. Census Bureau, American DemographicsSHOW ME THE MONEY: Divvying Up the Gen Y Spending Pool THE FIRSTWAVE: GEN Y ADULTS, AGES 18 TO 24 (36% OF THE GENERATION)
The biggest distinction between leading Gen Ys and their Gen X predecessors is probablytheir attitude toward money. Todays leading Gen Ys are optimistic about their earningpower. In a March 2001 Northwestern Mutual poll of college seniors, 73 percent saidthey thought it very likely they would be able to afford the lifestyle they grew up in; and21 percent said it was somewhat likely. They expect to have money because they want it:Asked in the same poll to choose one thing that would improve their lives forever, most Is this achose “having more money” (26 percent). surpriseAt the same time, they like to spend. According to the Northwestern Mutual study, 37percent currently own three or more credit cards, while only 13 percent claim none. Thefall 2000 Lifestyle & Media Student Monitor reports that overall, college students todayhave a purchasing power of $105 billion, and that 6 out of 10 earn this money through apart-time job. According to Student Monitors spring 2001 report, the average monthlydiscretionary spending of full-time undergraduate college students is $179; their averageannual personal earnings, $5,140.THE SECOND WAVE: GEN Y TEENS, AGES 12 TO 17 (34% OF THEGENERATION)According to Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU), teens spent $155 billion in 2000-$2billion more than they did in 1999-an increase of 1.3 percent, and the fourth annualincrease in a row. (Previous annual growth was in the 9 percent to 18 percent range.)TRU estimates the average teenagers weekly spending at $84, $57 of which is their ownmoney. In large part, they are spending money on clothing: According to HarrisInteractive, 75 percent of girls expenditure and 52 percent of boys goes toward apparel.Yet they also have longer-term plans: An astounding 18 percent own stocks or bonds. Ina study of 2,030 12- to 19-year-olds nationwide, TRU found that 30 percent of teens areinterested in getting their own credit card and of the 18- and 19-year-olds, 42 percentalready have cards in their own name. In the meantime, they use a variety of debit cardsand pre-loaded cards such as American Expresss Cobalt Card.THE THIRD WAVE: GEN Y KIDS, AGES 7 TO 11 (30% OF THEGENERATION)Tweens may have even more spending power. According to the Wonder Group, todaystweens spend an average of $4.72 a week of their own money, typically from anallowance. In addition, these tweens get a lot of money through cash gifts-mostly fromtheir grandparents. That amounts to $10 billion a year out-of-pocket-with either their ownallowances or with money acquired through gifts. In addition, theres the spending theyinfluence, estimated by the Wonder Group at $260 billion annually.“This is the most influential youth segment,” says Dave Siegel, president of the WonderGroup. “Unlike teens, they still have to rely on their power to influence their parents inorder to get the goods and services they want. And todays parents are different fromyesterdays. Instead of being the gatekeeper that puts off their kids nagging, theyve
become cooperative partners in this endeavor. We call them the ‘4 eyed, 4 leggedconsumer.’ The tween and mom act as one consumer.”