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Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Gen Z – it seems like not a day goes by without hearing some mention of the generational cohorts. As marketers, we certainly bear responsibility for adding to this sense of ubiquity.  However, many people are still unfamiliar or unsure what they refer to.

At a high level, the generational cohorts reflect the common experiences and prevailing attitudes of people born in a similar timeframe. Environmental factors such as the economy, education, war, and living costs tend to play a factor in peoples’ beliefs and values. For this reason, it is commonly believed that people within generations hold commonalities among their characteristics. Below, we’re exploring four generations and the traits that define each group.

Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Gen Z - it seems like not a day goes by without hearing some mention of the generational cohorts. As marketers, we certainly bear responsibility for adding to this sense of ubiquity.  However, many people are still unfamiliar or unsure what they refer to. At a high level, the generational cohorts reflect the common experiences and prevailing attitudes of people born in a similar timeframe. Environmental factors such as the economy, education, war, and living costs tend to play a factor in peoples’ beliefs and values. For this reason, it is commonly believed that people within generations hold commonalities among their characteristics. Below, we’re exploring four generations and the traits that define each group.

1946 – 1964: Baby Boomers (Currently aged 57-75)

Baby Boomers are thought to be goal-centric, with a strong work ethic. This generation sparked economic growth, as they had a tendency to spend heavily and stimulate the economy, unlike their parents’ generation (The Silent Generation) who preferred saving money.

Baby Boomers consume the most traditional media (television, newspaper, radio) of all the generations. Even so, the generation has begun to adopt technology in order to stay connected with their friends and family. Today, 90% of Baby Boomers have a Facebook account.

1965 – 1976: Generation X (Currently aged 45-56)

Gen X is classified as responsible, self-sufficient, and resourceful. Many Gen X’ers carry large financial burdens, between paying off student debts and caring for aging parents. Along with these stressors, this generation also juggles supporting their own families and their children’s upcoming education expenses.

Gen X’ers also continue to consume traditional media, though less so than Baby Boomers. Additionally, they spend more time on Facebook than any other generation, averaging 7 hours per week.

1977 – 1995: Generation Y, or “Millennials” (Currently aged 24-44)

Millennials tend to value family and friend relationships over their careers. Even so, they are thought to be confident and ambitious. Millennials have gotten a lot of attention recently, as the youngest of their generation have now reached adulthood. They’re having a significant influence on the country’s economy and represent the largest portion of the current workforce.

This generation is technologically skilled, with most Millennials having multiple social media accounts. They prefer streaming services over traditional media like cable.

1996 – Current: Generation Z, or “Gen Z” (Currently aged 25 and younger)

Most members of Gen Z are too young to have made a great impact on the world just yet. Gen Z’ers are thought to be more tolerant of diversity than others, and strive to be environmentally conscious. They tend to avoid taking risks, and have a strong desire to remain financially responsible.

Also referred to as “iGen”, this generation grew up with technology, making them the most digitally native of all age groups.

It is debated whether generational commonalities are legitimate or just a myth. It is certainly difficult to assign characteristics to groups of millions of people, however, evidence suggests that these similarities hold some significance. Which generation do you fall into, and do you feel that the characteristics suit you?

In future blog posts, we’ll dive into details on these generations, including what marketers can do with this information. Stay tuned for more DSG Insights!

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