There is much discussion about the millennial generation (also generation Y) in the United States because of sheer purchasing power. We are a generation of consumers and therefore very influential in how companies strategically engage with publics. The generation is defined by technology and prides themselves in being founded by social movements. Engagement is key; millennials want to be involved, and are strongly opinionated, therefore making them an integral key to business due their impact and involvement in public opinion. The infographic shows some common characteristics of millennials.
As I am about to embark on a trip to South Korea, it occurred to me, are millennials the same everywhere? Are they at least similar? Do we use technology for the same reasons?
Millennials in the United States
Millennials are the generation born from around 1977 to 1995 (+/- a couple of years depending on where you read it). There’s an estimated 80 million of them in the United States. They are inherently tech-savvy and socially influential to marketers. A Barkley research study estimated that the American millennials 25% of the total population and are $200 billion dollars of the buying power in the United States. It has been said that the generation is aware of their power and influence and thus uses that to ensure their involvement and engagement with brands and companies. The millennial cohort are a very optimistic bunch and tend to perceive their innovativeness and impact on businesses as characteristics that will change society.
Millennials in South Korea
There are an estimated 660 million Asian individuals born with the category of Generation Y. The numbers vary from country to country depending on diverse cultural situations and technological interconnectedness of the country. South Korea is a developed country and very tech-savvy. 80 % of millennials have smartphones, and they use them for everything from online banking to perusing the internet to accessing social media. Facebook is not #1 in Korea, they have Cyworld.
The use of technology for Korean millennials is said to be more on track towards profitability and the overall bottom line for businesses. Additionally, Korean millennials are very active participants in politics and civic engagement, the Internet being their main avenue for being involved.
With all of this in mind, the Korean population is rapidly aging. As the country has developed, people are living longer, but not extending their families. Even though South Korea is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, the absence of young people is causing concern for the future of business talent. While this will challenge the country, the advanced systems of technology will hopefully reenergize the aging population.
I think it’s safe to say that the outlook for future leadership is positive. Millennials around the globe are bold and innovative, and want to have a positive impact on the future. South Korea appears to be a country that may struggle with the population trends and the future of business, however collaboration between the two countries may help.
An article published in Time presented the argument that millennials in the United States are graduating without jobs and heading to Asia to seek opportunities. The possibilities are endless. It will be interesting to watch the trends in the future as relations with Asia develop and their economies technological advances continue to be competitive.