Generation Y – definition and meaning

Generation Y or Gen Y refers to people born between the early to mid-1980s and the early 2000s. We also call it the ‘Millennial Generation.’ We often refer to people born during that period as ‘Millennials.’ People base the name ‘Generation Y’ on the generation that preceded the Millennials, i.e., Generation X. Generation X people were born from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s.

Some people refer to Generation Y people as Echo Boomers or the Boomerang Generation.

Gen Y people are tech-savvy because they grew up with computers, laptops, and electronic games. At least half of them also grew up with smartphones and tablets.

Compared to their predecessors, they are immune to most traditional marketing and sales techniques.

Not only did they grow up with technology, but also with exposure to sophisticated marketing since early childhood.

Generation Y – brand loyalty

Gen Y people are significantly less brand loyal than Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers were born during the two decades after WWII when the global economy was booming.

Their lifetime access to commutations devices and the Internet has made them flexible regarding brands and fashion. Their style consciousness is similarly flexible.

Gen Y members are much more segmented as an audience.

Generation Y - definition and illustration with features
Generation Y members spend much more time doing things on their own compared to their predecessors. The Internet has changed how we work, rest, and play. In fact, it has even changed how we think and perceive things.

According to

“Gen Y members are much more racially and ethnically diverse, and they are much more segmented as an audience aided by the rapid expansion in Cable TV channels, satellite radio, the Internet, e-zines, etc.”

Generation Y – stereotype

The stereotypical Generation Y person is self-involved, lazy, cosseted, and is also a politically apathetic narcissist. They cannot function without a smartphone and hate commitment.

Furthermore, people say that they live in a permanent adolescent state. However, these are stereotypical perceptions and do not mean that all or most millennials are like that.

In a March 2016 Guardian article, Kate Lyons wrote:

“One commentator has called them ‘Generation Y-ny [whiny].’ Another common epithet is ‘Generation Me,’ though Time Magazine didn’t think this quite captured the self-obsession of the generation and beefed it up to ‘Generation Me, Me, Me’ as the headline of their feature on them.”

On the other hand, they are also creative, flexible and open-minded. They have a strong sense of social responsibility.

Furthermore, Generation Y members care deeply about the state of the environment.

Generation Y self image

Millennials have a more negative self-image than their predecessors. Fifty-nine percent of Gen Y members see themselves as self-absorbed, while 49% describe themselves as wasteful.

Only 30% and 20% of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers respectively described themselves as wasteful.

Regarding how they see themselves, Lyons wrote:

“So pervasive is their negative view of themselves that many in Generation Y don’t want to be identified as such.”

“Nearly two-thirds don’t consider themselves to belong to that generation.”

Video – Millennials or Generation Y

This Ariix Networking video explains what Generation Y or Millennials mean. The Millennial Generation is changing how we think and work.