The nuances of the Millennial ParadoxAccording to Titan Industries’ Paradox Panelist, Kaustav Sen, collective individualism certainly can beused to describe the attitudes and behaviour of the nation’s 21-35 year-olds; however, the affect is notnecessarily uniform across India. The millennial paradox is present in different degrees depending on the‘sub group’ to which the individual belongs.The paradox behind India’s millennials is palpable across their professional lives and leisure –individualism, in the manner in which they draw their opinions, express themselves and ignoretraditional structures of hierarchy; collectivism through their sharing of information and opinions,participation in open discussion and their constant craving for peer-level endorsement. However, thedegree to which such traits are expressed will vary according to the segment/mind-set they arebelonging at that phase of life.Collective individualism will be most prevent amongst so-called Inglodians; generally clustered aroundIndia’s SEC1 / A1 cities and accounting for 1.5% of the population (today, three million). They areaffluent and consume the majority of the trendsetting (international) and luxury items; they are Internetsavvy and the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east and west,developing and developed countries, etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion andculture yet remain steadfastly Indian at heart.Economic independence and ready access to global trends and information has reduced reliance andconnection with traditional networks of family and immediate friends, making them more disposed tooutside influences, opinions and endorsers – perfectly reflecting the characteristics of collectiveindividualism. While today, Inglodians may represent a niche segment, they are growing at 70% pa andtheir influence is increasingly evident across India’s wider millennial community.The Indian segment accounts for around 30% of the youth population and is concentrated in SEC2 cities,SEC1 cities, (middle and upper middle class) will tend to balance between individualism and a moretraditional sense of collectivism around families and local communities. Indian millennials are well awareof global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. This is partly due toeconomic pragmatism – they are less autonomous than their Inglodia counterparts, more reliant ontheir families. In common with Inglodians, most Indian millennials have consciously adopted asophisticated, yet cool look and attitude that is distinct and not necessarily as young as the globalperception of youth culture.The positive aspect of this situation is growing levels of confidence within young individuals today unliketheir predecessors. Risk taking is now encouraged, leading to nurturing of successful youngentrepreneurs and professionals in newer fields, for example, human interface consultants, DJs, scubadiving experts, style and image consultants, and so on.The Bharatiyas segment account for the remainder of India’s millennials and are majorly clustered in theSEC2 and SEC3 cities remain committed to and focused on traditional senses of group conformity, familyvalues and opinions. This sub-group’s exposure to and subsequent influence by collective individualismis greatly reduced.
So, while the Millennial Paradox is certainly present across India’s youth population, its effects are mostevident within the Inglodian and – increasingly – Indian segments; both of which are growing in terms ofvolume and consumer power. Such groups tend towards self-centredness and materialism; even theirfriendships and relationships are conditional due to intense competition. This is compounded by the factthat families are increasingly becoming nuclear and opting for fewer/single children. The family’s entireinterest and attention revolves around the children making them – in turn – more egocentric anddemanding. Individualism – collective or otherwise – is certainly on the rise across these segments.Titan Industries’ Millennial Paradox Panelist, Kaustav Sengupta is Associate Professor at NationalInstitute of Fashion TechnologyKaustav is a well-known youth trend analyst, alternative media expert and a fashion theorist. He heads aresearch & direction team of young Indians which is organically growing and now has a network of morethan 1,500 young trend-spotters across India. This initiative called INgene, is the first ever youth trendresearch initiative in India recognized by many international experts as the best source for youth trendinsights in India. He regularly conducts workshops, delivers lectures and presents papers on Indian youthtrend, fashion forecasts, consumer analysis. He is also representing PYMCA (www.pymca.com, thelargest online archive of youth culture) in South East Asia; along with other honorary associations (Localadvisor of TED, NeN NIT Trichy, IIT M etc.) This collaboration will provide new opportunities to GEN nextand help showcase their photographs, artworks, music etc.Twitter @kaustavsenguptaWebsite http://www.kaustavsengupta.com/