Millennials. The joke is it’s a word older people use for younger people they don’t like.
Well, love them or loathe them, you certainly can’t ignore them.
But what exactly is a millennial? Quite simply, it’s the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the mid-90s who live by just one mantra: spend, spend, spend. It’s considered the most spoilt and entitled generation by those before them, their parents, aka the boomers.
The battle between the boomers and the millennials seemed like a long one. A war without end. Until the coronavirus pandemic struck. And it struck hard!
The pandemic might have changed millennial habits—maybe not forever, but for now certainly. And resulted in a truce between boomers and millennials.
Until now, millennials weren’t exactly known for their saving habit. They were generally seen as a generation of big spenders: Shopping on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Jabong, Zomato, and Swiggy is the root cause of many a millennial being broke. They Uber or Ola it everywhere. They always have plans to travel the world. They don’t want to settle down. Or put down roots.
However, with so much changing in the wake of the COVID pandemic, millennial behavior is changing more rapidly than any previous generation. Dealing with the lockdown has taught this generation some vital lessons in problem-solving, a key skill from Harappa’s Solve Habit.
Divided into five courses, the Solve Habit helps one analyze problems, decode solutions, and understand decision-making models. It does this by helping learners define, structure, and execute solutions to critical problems.
Let’s look at how millennials are giving up their avocado toast and solving problems the good old-fashioned way.
First up, shopping.
Shopping was the millennial’s drug. Every time they needed to celebrate, felt sad when things didn’t go their way, had a bad day at work or their pet died, their immediate cure was retail therapy. Be it online or offline, accumulating material goods pushed millennials to live paycheck to paycheck.
Now with COVID in their lives and financial uncertainty staring them in the face, millennials are rethinking their spending habits. From DIYing to preparing their own meals with the help of YouTube, conserving cash is foremost on their minds. With the possibility of paychecks stopping, millennials have ditched their shop-now-pay-later attitude and are learning how to be thrifty. Yes, you read that right. Thrifty.
The idea of owning a brick-and-mortar house was not on the millennial’s priority list. Many left their homes to build new homes in different cities but never really found themselves settled in one. Living on rent prevailed and constant change was the magic mantra of this generation. They prayed to their landlords more than any other divine beings. What’s more, they even rented furniture and appliances. Yes, via the apps on their phone, of course.
While riding the wave of uncertainty was cool when everything else was certain, COVID made everything uncertain. With the home converted into an office, restaurant, hangout zone, and everything else in between, millennials are now rethinking their earlier lifestyle choices. ‘Beta, invest in property, get interested in real-estate,’ is now music to their ears.
Some habits don’t change.
Millennials have always lived in a virtual world and believed in the sharing economy. Some 85% of their time is spent on mobile devices. They understood social distancing even before social distancing existed!
With the pandemic pushing them deeper into the recesses of the digital world, sharing or collaborative consumption has become a habit. Millennials suddenly find themselves lonelier than ever in their virtual surroundings. But while COVID has made the millennial generation more physically distant, it is also edging them digitally closer. With few physical connections, they have rethought the idea of ownership and sharing. They are Dunzoing and Swiggying their possessions to their friends and family. Books, medicines, home-cooked meals, nothing lies outside their realm of sharing anymore.
Changing habits requires changing mindsets. And the post-COVID world might just be more generous, caring, and rooted thanks to the changing behaviors of the millennials.
Chandrima Chatterjee is a Specialist with the Curriculum team at Harappa Education. The Delhi School of Economics graduate also loves to read fiction and hopefully will write one someday.
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