What’s in store for 2021?
By 2021, the majority of the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and1964, would have retired, with only a fifth possibly remaining active in the workforce. That means Generation X, known as the sandwich generation, will take over the work and economic activity left vacant by boomers.
Complementarily, the majority of the workforce will come from the millennials and the Gen Zs. The oldest millennial born in 1977 turns 44 years old. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, himself turning 37 years old in May 2021, is the millennial generation’s poster boy. The youngest millennial born in 1994 and 27 years old should likewise be working. Not far behind are the Gen Zs, born 1995 onwards, themselves slowly joining the workforce.
Call it changing of the guard, but in 2021 and onward, much of the economy will be fueled by the pocket power of the millennials and Gen Zs.
How exactly do these generations think and buy in this environment dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Some insights can be gleaned from The MKS Pandemic Millennial and Gen Z Consumer Report based on a survey conducted by MKS Marketing Consulting in October and November in the National Capital Region. The survey covering 158 millennials and Gen Zs has a +/-8-percent margin of error (MOE) and a 95-percent confidence level.
Millennials more hopeful than Gen Zs
The report says that millennials (69 percent) are far more hopeful and optimistic than Gen Zs (44 percent) that the pandemic will be resolved soon. Gen Zs though, admit to simply riding the pandemic tide. Not surprising, half of the population of each demographic segment admits to being very worried—millennials (53 percent) and Gen Zs (54 percent).
Dining is an activity that is missed most by the two cohorts while clothing and footwear are the foremost nonessential must-haves of both millennials and Gen Zs.
Dining with family and friends in a restaurant without restrictions is an activity that both millennials (89 percent) and Gen Zs (77 percent) say they miss during the pandemic.
However, millennials ranked going to church (100 percent) as the activity that is missed the most because of prohibitions and restrictions imposed to stem the spread of COVID-19. Third on the millennials’ ranking of activities missed the most is traveling for leisure.
Gen Zs being at an age where sociability or collective spirit is at its highest, predictably ranked dining with family and friends as the most missed activity followed by visiting friends more often (74 percent), attending a party and other social gatherings (67 percent), going to the gym or attending yoga, meditation classes and other exercise activities (67 percent) and going to the mall more frequently (67 percent).
In the event that the COVID-19 pandemic is fully over, millennials say dining with family and friends in a restaurant is the first to-do activity (77 percent) while Gen Zs claim visiting friends more often will be their primary activity (86 percent).
Excluding food consumed in and out of home, medicines and COVID essentials; clothing and fashion top the category that both millennials and Gen Zs will first consume Christmas time, on Valentine’s Day and on special and other occasions. Cosmetics and perfume followed closely while jewelry and fashion accessories came next.
Clothing, footwear and travel are top
nonessential categoriesAmong nonessential categories, Gen Z’s favored top categories include clothing and footwear followed by travel. Inversely, the millennials favor travel followed by clothing and footwear.
Food consumed out of home and covid essentials are the two categories that both Gen Zs and Millennials buy online.
The pandemic has brought a surge in daily online sales with a rising incidence among many categories. However, food consumed in and out of home and COVID essentials are the most sought after categories for online shopping.
Categories and brands need to be boosted online and offline
The pandemic has brought in cautious spending as opposed to lavish, ostentatious, pay later and mindless spending during pre-COVID days. On top of that all types of distractions, emotional anxiety, a deluge of product offers and services, social media, pervasive online formats and apps, chat rooms and delivery channels is what a millennial and Gen Z consumer with pocket power is faced with. Hence, branding and boosting the category for nonessential and laggard categories is a challenge which serious businesses and owners need to think about long and hard. —CONTRIBUTED
The writer is chief brand strategist of MKS Marketing Consulting and is an alumna of Oxford University’s SAID Graduate School of Business Strategic Leadership and Strategic Marketing Executive Education Program and Stanford Graduate School of Business Strategic Marketing Executive Education. Reach the author who is also a member of the Global Strategic Consulting Network at [email protected]
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