(photo from shoot for Marina Lavochin)
How they influence both older and younger generations
The reason why Millennials should be understood first and foremost to be able to do business in the 21st century, is not just because they now are the largest generation in the populous, but because their work and consumer habits are now the strongest influencer of every other generation. Traits of Millennials are similar to a type A, personality or a dominate gene in genetics. The Millennials are unilaterally rewriting the rules of work and consumer behavior. Generation X and the Boomers are simply adopting many or most of the predispositions that Millennials have by nature, and the following generation (generation z), which will begin arriving in the workplace and consumer market by 2020, will adopt many of the digital market norms that they inherit. While many of the next generation will not know what the reasons were for the demand of transparency, or the movement away from corporate america or experience based economy vs product based economy, the effects will make their mark on the global economy as far out as 2050.
In all likelihood, the biggest things to change consumer behavior in the next 30 years will be climate change, everyday use of robotics, augmented reality, and nano-bio technology. Generation z are the most likely candidates to take those technologies to a level that continues the shift of cognitive existence further into an immersive digital world. However, it was the events that played into the shift of consumer behavior and attitudes that began with the Millennials are likely to permeate through the entire first half of the 21st century, only to be elaborated upon by additional technology and emission into the digital world.
The first rule of business is to know your target market, this is impossible without understanding the Millennials, why they are, and why they work and consume the way that they do.