Millennials displace the baby boomers … with major impacts for consumerism

Posted on Posted in Low-carbon innovations, Topics

On the way home from Brussels on Eurostar, I picked up a copy of the Financial Times. The cover story was about how the number of millennials (born between 1980-2000) has overtaken the number of baby boomers in the US, marking a shift in consumer power as “millennials are now in the most important age range for economic activity”. (A similar transition happened a while back in Asia).


According to the FT, millennials prefer “local, original, and what they can feel and trust”. This is a reaction to having grown up in a nakedly neoliberal era: “If competition is the main feature of your world, you would be a fool to find people trustworthy … You want to be part of a circle of production and consumption that is not centred on enriching the 1 per cent … You want community experience”.


We’re still analysing the data from our workshops exploring public perceptions of low-carbon innovations, but issues of trust, supply-chain transparency, sociability, and relationships kept coming up. It will be interesting to test whether these were particularly emphasised by the millennials in our sample.


Also telling were a series of other articles in the same copy of Financial Times: on Volvo’s strategic move into ride-sharing and subscription-based mobility services; on Uber’s strategic move into e-bike sharing; and on the application of AI to move analysis and algorithms from the centralised cloud back to distributed devices like the smartphone.


All relevant to the SILCI project’s research portfolio!


Link to the article can be found here.