From gender fluidity to the phenomenon that is millennial pink, we take a look at the aspirations, habits and trends colouring this oft- misunderstood generation.
We take a look at the aspirations, habits and trends colouring this oft-misunderstood generation.
TH E MI L L ENNIA L G EN E R ATI ON
– an umbrella term used to describe anyone born between 1982 to 2004 – is perhaps one of the 21st century’s greatest and longstanding enigmas. Garnering both praise and criticism in equal measure, they’ve been labelled everything from “narcissistic” and “entitled”, to “innovators” and “game changers”.
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials account for 27 per cent of the global population, which translates roughly to around 2 billion people – a fastgrowing demographic that has got big brands to sit up and take notice. And rightly so.
Currently between 13 and 35 years of age, those millennials who are on the cusp of adulthood with prime spending power are driving the world’s consumer spending growth. According to a report published by financial services company The Motley Fool, millennials will have more spending power than baby boomers by next year. The report also suggests that the demographic will have a collective spending power of US$1.4 trillion (S$1.8 trillion) by the year 2020.
Wealthy millennials, on the other hand, are taking it up a notch. In June this year, a study by RBC Wealth Management revealed that high-net-worth individuals from this generation with an average of US$5.7 million (S$7.6 million) investable assets each were found to be largely involved in areas such as investment, savings and wealth management.
Unaffected by issues of general affordability, they are able to act on aspirations at the blink of an eye – thus, putting them in the driver’s seat to influence the mindsets and spending habits of their peers. Brands have wasted no time in tapping on their spheres of influence to get the word out on their products and services. Instead of spending millions of dollars on ad campaigns and billboards, they are seeking to convert affluent millennials into poster children for their causes, a much more effective way at reaching a target demographic who thrives on familiarity and authenticity when making purchase decisions.
They are revolutionising the way we work, too. Millennials’ preference for part-time work and being self-employed has paved the way for the rise of the “gig economy”. Professor Paulin Straughan, a sociologist and dean of students at Singapore Management University, attributes this to a tight job market which has made fulltime employment not as easy to come by. Adding to this is a cultural shift where millennials are not willing to sacrifice passion for the mundane.
Work-life balance, Straughan adds, has never been more integral. “They have a clearer distinction between work and play based on the experiences of those around them. They’ve seen friends and family having had to clock long hours and the consequences that has on mental and physical health, family and other social relationships,” she says.
Whichever way you look at it, millennials are doing away with the rigmarole of the past. They’re the here-andnow generation – an ever-evolving medley of dreamers, innovators and change-makers constantly pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo.