I celebrated my birthday this week and that sparked my thoughts on growing older and belonging to a specific generation. I have also been preparing a presentation on buying patterns and realised the difference in buying patterns between various generations. I therefore thought to focus the next few blogs on the various generations with reference to their buying patterns and a focus on wine buying.
Just looking at the date ranges in which each of the generations were born, it is already possible to forecast their behaviour and spending patterns – who of us do not have grandparents or parents preaching to us about how difficult times were in the time of the Great Depression? And yes, they have treasured their belongings and have a conservative attitude towards spending.
And if you have children belonging to the Millennials or Generation Y, you might still be taking care of them financially as per this Forbes.com article.
“For one, Millennials focus on instant gratification. “They grew up in a time of insecurity, with 9-11 and banks cheating people. The traditional institutions and the way things are supposed to be weren’t that way for them,” says cultural analyst Donna Sabino of IpsosOTX MediaCT. “It gave them this ‘who knows what tomorrow will bring?’ and to say ‘why not treat myself?
And then there is the fact that Millennials aren’t often the ones footing these purchases. Some 59% of moms pay for their Millennial child’s cell phone and 53% of moms spend more than $5,000 per year per each adult child covering everyday expenses, according to Vibrant Nation.”
Doing a bit of research on the subject, I found that there were much more information on the subject of generations than my initial thoughts that went as far as the Baby Boomers to which I belong.
I therefore suggest an orientation with regard to Generations this week, followed by detail information in the weeks to come on the specific generations we have today and their buying patterns.
Wikipedia might seem like an obvious resource, but it gives a very detailed description on generations which I would like to share – I have very much shortened it, so please visit Wikipedia to read more.
“Social generations are cohorts of people who were born in the same date range and share similar cultural experiences.”
Contemporary society readily, if not naturally, accepts the notion of a generation as a form of differentiation or comparison. The idea of a generation is not new and can be found in ancient literature. However, there are also psychological and sociological dimensions in the sense of belonging and identity that can define a generation.
The concept of a generation is also used to locate particular birth cohorts in specific historical and cultural circumstances, such as the “Baby Boomers.”
While all generations have similarities, it is simplistic to say they are the same.
It is not where the birth cohort boundaries are drawn that is important, but how individuals and societies interpret the boundaries and how divisions may shape processes and outcomes. However, the practice of categorizing age cohorts is useful to researchers for the purpose of constructing boundaries in their work.”
A general list of generations as we know them in the Western World:
- The Lost Generation, also known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term to describe those who fought in World War I. The members of the lost generation were typically born between 1883 and 1900.
- The Greatest Generation, also known as the G.I. Generation, is the generation that includes the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 through 1924, coming of age during the Great Depression.
- The Silent Generation, also known as the “Lucky Few”, were born 1925 through 1942. It includes those who were too young to join the service during World War II. It includes most of those who fought during the Korean War. Many had fathers who served in World War I. Generally recognized as the children of the Great Depression, this event during their formative years had a profound impact on them.
With the Silent Generation now between 71 and 88 years of age, I will have a quick look at their spending patterns next week, but my serious attention will go to the following generations:
- The Baby Boomers are the generation that was born following World War II, generally from 1946 up to 1964, a time that was marked by an increase in birth rates.
- Generation X is generally defined as those born after the Post–World War II baby boom ended. Demographers, historians and commentators use beginning birth dates from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. The term has also been used in different times and places for a number of different subcultures or countercultures since the 1950s.
- Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, describes the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends. Commentators use birth dates ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
- Generation Z is a name used (although other terms exist) for the cohort of people born from the early 2000s to the present day who are distinct from the preceding Millennial Generation.
Generations in other areas of the world are defined in different ways and I will also have a look at the various generations within China and how that influence how and what they purchase.