The Generational Paradox

The Millennial generation, the up-and-coming consumers whose lifestyle and shopping preferences are now shaping marketers’ approaches, will soon outnumber Boomers as the largest generational segment among adults 18+. But the older generations should not be ignored. The previous 2016 brief focuses on the differences among age segments within the Millennial generation. This current brief looks at important demographic characteristics of the Millennials as a whole compared with the older generations, and reports on their concerns and financial goals.

The ages of the adult generations in 2015 profiled in this brief are as follows:

Millennials 18 to 34
Gen-Xers 35 to 50
Boomers 51 to 69
Seniors 70 or older

Insights Overview:

According to Rolling Stone magazine, The Who song “My Generation” by Pete Townshend is one of the five hundred greatest songs of all time, reflecting his Millennial fears about adult life. Now, over fifty years since it was written, such generational worries and concerns remain, not only for the Millennials, but also for Gen-Xers, Boomers, and Seniors alike. However, what currently keeps these generations up at night is considerably different. For example, Millennials’ number one concern is “Being out of work and finding a good job,” while “Having enough money saved to retire comfortably” is currently uppermost on Gen-Xers’ minds; Boomers put their own health at the top, while Seniors are most concerned about their family’s health.

That said, since money is also definitely on people’s minds, luxury marketers should be aware of the significant differences in the various generations’ buying power. This is especially important because, while the media and marketing communities are so enamored of Millennials (and yes, some are very active buyers now), the fact is that their older counterparts have a far greater capacity to actually buy more expensive luxury goods and services today.

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