The most influential Megatrends set to shape the world through 2030, identified by Euromonitor International, help businesses better anticipate market developments and lead change for their industries.Learn More
In the post-recessionary landscape, generational divides are looming larger. Crudely put, in many minds, the Baby Boomers correlate with the “haves” and the Millennials or Generation Y, to the “have nots”. This may be an over-simplification; Baby Boomers are not all wealthy, with the added complexity that some are spending significant amounts supporting their Millennial offspring. Nevertheless Millennials, the majority of whom have entered the labour force since 2007, are clearly at the forefront of significant change in consumer behaviour, driven in part by their recessionary inheritance.
In Europe, challenges faced by Millennials are compounded by government austerity policies, which many believe have hurt the young the most. This is borne out by spectacular rates of youth unemployment – more than 55% in Greece in 2014 and 51.2% in Spain. It is not solely a European problem though, the rate of youth unemployment stood at 13.0% in the USA in the same year – more than twice the overall rate of unemployment.
Source: Euromonitor International from ILO/Eurostat/national statistics/OECD
Note: Youth unemployment refers to those aged 15-24
These figures also mask a two-tier labour market with younger workers dominating the ranks of those on short fixed-term or zero hours contracts. Not surprisingly then, in the G7 as a whole, the average gross income of those in their 20s has fallen by 0.5% in real terms between 2007 and 2014, compared to a rise of 1.5% for those aged 50-64.
This has several implications for consumer markets:
Attitudes do not tend to stand the test of time wholly unchanged; so we can’t simply project the same behaviour of Millennials when they are in their 40s, 50s and beyond. Nevertheless it is unlikely that in twenty to thirty years’ time, Millennials will become their parents. The shift is immense and will have a persistent impact on the economy, society and consumer markets.