Echo Boomers: As Mindless As They Say?
By Lianne Turner
As the so-called “echo boomers” come of age, the entire economy is struggling to catch up. Why should all of corporate America care so very much that a bunch of teenagers and twenty-somethings are hitting their prime? Because they’re hitting their shopping prime, according to demographers and marketing consultants.
“Generation-Y,” or the “millennials,” as we are apparently referred to, are people who were born between 1982 and 1995, and make up one third of the U.S. population. There are already 80 million of us, so you had better get used it, because we are taking over this country one shopping mall at a time.
So. You may be asking yourself right about now, “How can I get in on some of this hot selling action?” The answer is simple, according to the report “The Echo Boomers,” by CBS 60 Minutes, find yourself a petty, mindless 20 year-old shopping zombie, not unlike myself, and dangle an item in front of her eyes. Any item will do, as long as it falls into one of these four brand categories: Sony, Patagonia, Gap, Gillette, Aveda. Now there’s where you’ll find your problem.
Sony is putting up a good fight to catch up to the younger folk with cutesy items like the Cybershot digital camera (which I must admit, I have drooled over on Amazon) and the Walkman Bean MP3 player, which are quite appealing to a trendier audience. Patagonia, however, I had never even heard of before Correspondent Steve Kroft’s opinion on the matter came into play. I had to Google the brand, only to find out that their clothes were atrociously unstylish. GAP. While writing this, I’m wearing GAP jeans, shoes, and yes, even GAP socks. There, they have me. As for the rest of American “echo boomers,” I have no clue. So far as the rest, I simply have no opinion strong enough to care which razor I’m picking up off the shelf at my local Duane Reade, and I’ve never used Aveda.
Recap? CBS: One, Echo Boomers: Four
The article says, “Only a small percentage are eligible to vote, yet they are already one of the most studied generations in history.” Almost all Americans are eligible to vote once they turn eighteen. I registered at my local DMV. This article defines echo boomers as those who were born between 1982 and 1995, and being that it is now the end of 2006, a number of that generation is now 18 years of age or older. Of the 13-year stretch that was provided for this generation, six years worth of people are eligible to vote, and assuming that birth rates were evenly dispersed throughout the years, 46% of Generation Y is perfectly capable of voting on election day. Forty-six percent hardly seems like a “small percentage” to me. Perhaps our generation isn’t as unimportant for things other than shopping after all. Now, if we could only find our way to the registration centers…
Interviews with college students found that our generation “tends to be very overachieving, over-managed…very pressured,” which I would agree with entirely. A second student added, “A lot of people work hard or want to do well.” This article, however, seems to imply that this is a bad thing. I’m not sure how the baby boomer generation was raised, but where I come from, getting things done is a good thing.
That’s exactly what we’re talking about. From the point of view of the baby boomers contributing to this article, I have discovered that they think us to be a mindless group of shopping fiends with no concept of how to handle ourselves without the encouragement and monetary support of mommy and daddy.
Another interesting point brought up in this article was that we are a good generation. And “good” in the sense that we don’t get in trouble. “The use of tobacco and alcohol are at all-time lows. So is teen pregnancy. Five out of ten echo boomers say they trust the government, and virtually all of them trust mom and dad.” This says quite a bit. Five out of ten trust the government. That also means that five out of ten do not. I would go so far as to say that most of those ten got their beliefs from the mom and dad that they seem to trust so very much with their lives.
The article also mentions product placement on celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton and how effective that can be in the launch of a $40 T-shirt, but how vintage clothing stores are popular as well. Those echo boomers buying the $40 T-shirts are probably the ones that trust the government.
While the echo boomers may control the economy, the world is not yet ours. The media and government are still in the hands of the generation above us, but one day America will be in our deep pockets. Let’s hope our shallow minds don’t ruin it all.