01 02 03 Reflections: Where is Gen Y headed? 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Where is Gen Y headed?

As a part of an employment test, I was asked to highlight Top Three Trends that I observed in the youth today. 
Let me share with you, a few of my observations.

·                 Trend 1:
The youth today have countless ways to express themselves.
Let’s not even look too far. Even if I take a time horizon of say 5 years, the avenues have increased manifold since then. Other than social networking sites, micro blogging sites, and blogging websites that have been there for longer, proliferation of Blackberry messenger, social networking sites that are accessible now from even the most basic of handsets through WAP and GPRS, Android and iPhone apps like wattpad, instagram, pinterest, pose, foursquare, the list is endless. 

Nowadays, no matter where your interest lies, no matter what your passion or hobby, you have a platform to get more information, learn from others, showcase your talent and be known.

There is no such thing as privacy.  There are a few who can resist the temptation of posting a well-dressed picture of them, to know what others think; of telling the world that they had a great party last night, irrespective of whether the recipients are interested in knowing or not! Also, with all the accounts and apps interconnected and interlinked, no online activity remains a secret. The so-called friends are constantly updated about your whereabouts and whatdoings, so much so that they no longer feel the need to meet.

They crave acceptance and popularity.
 With easy expression, there comes the need to be more liked amongst peers and even amongst strangers. How many likes did my new puppy’s photo get? How many fans do I have on wattpad? Follow me on twitter, I promise to retweet and follow you back. I’m wearing a dress similar to Sonam Kapoor’s on the cover of that magazine; does it make me look fat? You get the drift.

With busy lifestyles and fast pace of life, relationships are becoming more virtual in nature.
It is more about the Quantity of friends rather than the Quality of friends.

·                 Trend 2:
They youth today is more aware
With increased literacy, stress on higher education as well as the easy and quick availability of information, the youth are more aware and savvy than what their parents or grandparents used to be. They not only know what is happening around them, but also have a fair idea of the ongoing topics around the world. 

They are aware of their rights and therefore demand more, not only from the government, but also from the goods and service providers. They do not settle for less. They hate delays. They are restless, and anybody who takes time to respond to them loses business.

They are also aware of various environmental and health issues and therefore, they seek out products and services that are healthy and sustainable in nature. There is also a sense of responsibility to give back to the society.

They want to be drivers of change and their decisions are more informed rather than impulse on most issues.
Increased awareness also comes with the zeal to do something nobody has ever done before, and therefore, we see a sleuth of new and innovative goods and services

And this is not just limited to a personal or professional front. Let’s take parenting as an example. Nowadays parenting is also done in a well informed manner. Unlike our growing up years where parents merely sent us to school and tuition class, today’s parents are placing a lot of importance on all round development. With easy access to information and many vocational classes to choose form, it’s not too difficult. 

Offbeat and unheard of occupations are becoming fruitful sources of employment. For example, many people are actually devoting themselves managing high profile weddings. Gone are the days when a photographer was somebody at a studio, who shot photos of you against colorful backgrounds. Fashion, wildlife, wedding, product and food photography are just some of the various subcategories in photography that are becoming full-time professions.

·                 Trend 3:
Saving is replaced by spending
One of the major reasons India survived the 2008 recession was the fact that we are a saving population. Credit card usage is limited and we do not believe in frivolity when it comes to finances. The strict patriarch makes most of the spending decisions and the women have to adhere to a budget.  But I don’t think India will be able to boast of this habit for too long.

Let me explain. With the current conditions of our economy, which is characterized by the increase in dollar, high inflation and interest rates, even the basic necessities are becoming dearer. The incomes, however, continue to grow at a snail’s pace.

Therefore, the common man is faced with the dilemma- save or eat. He obviously chooses the latter and thus, his savings remain stagnant. He may have to even withdraw some his savings in order to survive. 

Things don’t look happier for even the comparatively well-to-do lot. With rising real estate and gold prices, he has limited avenues of investment. Buying a house in a city like Mumbai is well beyond reach of an average income man. So is gold and silver for this risk-averse lot. Taking cue from a recessionary study that reported a rise in lipstick sales amongst women who sought ‘gratification from purchasing’; the average man may resort to developing a mindset of “Live for the day” since a splurging on a home or jewelry is anyway going to be way beyond reach.
The high income group is anyway famed to be the splurging lot.

To add to this, we have a rise in consumerism, international standard products and services, increased advertising and customer service that all entice an unassuming customer to buy, and buy some more, often more than he needs or can afford. 

Also, a rise in youth population, higher working class, women in the workforce have generated new and unique needs such a crèche facilities, meal services, recreation facilities, health insurance, etc. that tend to usurp a major chunk of one’s income. Saving is bare minimum.

Sigh, that took me a lot of thinking. 
Please do share your opinions, as well as your observations. 

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