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The New Greatest Generation: Part II


In last month’s issue, we discussed the reputation and common misconception of what has recently been coined as “the new greatest generation” also more commonly known as the ‘millennial generation’. Often given bad press as being too self-absorbed, selfie loving youngsters, we delved a little deeper to break down this misconception and reveal that the more narcissistic tendencies of those born post-80s are likely symptomatic of this day and age’s technological advances. But one might be wondering - what’s the point of discussing millennials anyway? Should we really be focussing on age-based categorisations? Why does it even matter? In this month’s Feature Story, we’ll be discussing whether why we should care about this “new greatest generation”.

What can we learn from the “me me me” generation?
There are indeed lessons to be learned about this ‘new greatest generation’ who think more about themselves in an individualistic manner. Two trends that emerge from millennial habits are that they are both more savvy and self-caring.
On one hand, they are savvier as a generation for a number of reasons. In some cases, they are savvier because they have to be. Whilst the twenty-first century is one of endless opportunities due to the ubiquitous power of technology, it also makes it one in which is it is harder to really carve out your own area of success to cut through all the noise. Millennials must therefore be more financially savvy to be able to afford the shiny lifestyle that society and social media dictates they should have. The good news is that they have grown up in an age where information and exchange of that information is much more easily and quickly accessible – so the rate of learning these savvy skills is unprecedented. It would be silly to suggest that millennials are not lucky for being brought up in the Internet age. In an age of financial and political uncertainty, it cannot be a bad thing to take a leaf from their book and learn how to be more resilient and savvy.
The second thing we can learn from the millennial generation is how to better care of the self. The recent proliferation of interest in yoga, clean eating and Danish practice of hygge is no coincidence. It is sparked by this new generations desire to disassociate themselves from the countercultural and rebellious nature of the punk era before them. It is no longer about ‘sex, drugs and rock’ n’ roll’ but about the complete opposite. The millennial generation concerns itself more so with the betterment of minds, bodies and souls. It can be no bad thing for us to take after this trend and to eat better, exercise more and always be on the constant path of seeking knowledge.
Are Chinese Millennials Any Different?
It would be wrong to generalise the experience of millennials all around the world as one and the same but it is interesting to consider whether Chinese millennials are indeed any different. Some might agree that like millennial generations in other countries, the younger Chinese are risk-takers and big dreamers. Ask anyone in the Chinese tourism industry and they’ll tell you that it is the millennial generation that is shaping travel trends at the moment. They are the ones who are reaping benefits of infrastructure improvements in the Middle Kingdom, allowing them to travel further, quicker and for much cheaper than ever before. They dream of going further afield than their predecessors and with their dreams now taking place in locations their parents never even dreamed of, Chinese millennials undoubtedly have an urge to forge a very different path in life as compared to that of their parents.  
In China, there is a growing and rising urban middle class. Unlike their parents who had to break away from rural life and take to the factory floor to make a living, Chinese millennials have had the fortune to be exposed to already established businesses, urban lifestyles and a system that encourages them to pursue their dreams. They are in a position that allows them to want and achieve life beyond the traditional job market. They see the likes of Jack Ma and the unbridled success of tech companies in China and they too want a slice of good life by starting up their own businesses and riding the wave of millennial trends and lifestyle. 
Swimming with the Tide
Millennials are undoubtedly some of the world’s biggest and influential consumers. They are not just confined to material goods, but are also exposed to experiences, media and information. As a result, this is good for business. Businesses need to keep an eye on trends that resonate with the millennial generation because they make up a good proportion of who their goods and services should be targeting. This will in turn keep business innovators on their toes and keep ideas fresh. It will be no bad thing that ideas will need to be innovative and original for ‘the new greatest generation’ to really buy a commodity or idea. As stated in last month’s article, they are more socially conscious and more socially connected. The power of this cannot be underestimated. It’s time to realise that this generation is not just making ripples in the way the rest of us live, but they are making waves. We must swim with the tide or risk being left out alone at sea.
It goes without saying that technology will continue to play a huge role in the interaction between and among the millennial generation. Some might still contend that categorising them based on the year they were born in is a needless label but it should not be ignored that there are some labelling them “the greatest”. It’s time to sit up a little straighter and pay a little more attention to the voices and influences of this young generation because as they say, the young are the people of the future and who knows where they may lead us?
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