It’s been a general consensus for retailers, businesses, and especially marketers over the years to target the “Ark of The Demographic” 18-34 age group. With the shift in the economy, record high $1 trillion dollar student loan debt, and inflated unemployment rates among this group, the sacred youth demo just may be more secular.
Youth runs the world, we get that. In Hollywood, it’s called ageism, a term used to describe the discrimination against older women and how they are pushed aside for young starlets to keep the testosterone levels in the theaters high. Sex is youthful, and Lord knows America sells a ton of that to our audiences. That being said, targeting the young impressionable minds has always proved to be the wise thing to do. However, research is showing that the Great Recession has left a lot of our young people without jobs and disposable income, turning us into frugal old kids.
With 54% of Americans between 18 and 24 employed, young adults are more prone to live at home with mom and dad, which translates to a lack of motivation, a lack of professional skill, and a lack of interest in the country’s economy. So, it makes perfect sense why American businesses would slowly begin to shy away from this demographic—they simply wouldn’t care to buy.
There have been several articles in relation to this topic, such as “Move Out of Your Parents’ House” and “Save The Economy.” The articles give a critique on youth culture in America since the 1980’s, and shows how, since the dawn of the Internet Age, Generation Y has become “Generation Why Bother?”
I beg to differ. The Internet has created a booming industrial revolution that is still being discovered as we speak. There are more young millionaires and billionaires than there have ever been, thanks to the Internet. We are in an age of innovation and technological advancement so high, that 10-year olds from India are becoming computer programmers and developing sites that help their country’s economic infrastructures. So the Internet is not why Gen Y’ers are having such a hard time.
Capitalism has become a practically deregulated economic system. More and more companies spend more and more money on lobbyists and lawyers that exploit loopholes and play backdoor politics with promises of campaign contributions. This allows the CEOs to outsource industrial jobs to foreign countries to operate at substantially less overhead. The Internet has led to the discovery of these truths, and young people are choosing not to participate and create their own jobs, as research supports that more than 50% of people claim that they know an entrepreneur.
I still believe that the sacred demographic is18-34 year-olds because this is a period of great self-discovery for us. We are coming out of our naiveté and into the actualization of our self-knowledge. During this time we explore and experiment, which leads to breakthroughs, and critical masses. Look at Silicon Valley, look at what young people are doing in New York. Los Angeles has had a multitude of youthful culture swells in the past decade.
In efforts to shorten the generation gap I won’t make the obvious distinctions between the elders and the youth, but I will say that we see the game, and we don’t like it. Therefore, we aren’t as willing to play the spend, spend, spend game, especially when companies are offering less and less in return yet expecting more production.
This method of behavior is a dangerous one, because studies show that learned behaviors early on become hard-to-break habits later. If we continue with frugality, we won’t have an economy in the next 30-40 years, and our children face a very grim development.
On the positive side of things, our country is a forgiving one, and I’m sure that there is a grand plan to forgive the $1 trilllion debt accrued by the millions of Americans who followed the tradition of “Get your education, and get a good job.” After all, we’ve bailed out much worse individuals under the threat of economic collapse, right?