We’ve been through Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y/Millennials. Now it’s time to get ready for “Generation Edge.”
The term, as designated by brand consultancy The Sound Research, refers to consumers born after 1995, many of whom are just moving into adulthood this year. Having grown up amid a series of foundation-shattering crises (among them September 11, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the financial collapse of 2008), Generation Edge is less entitled than their predecessors, the Millennials.
“What we’ve seen is that they’re very, very different from Millennials,” Ian Pierpoint, global president at The Sound Research, tells Marketing Daily. “Firstly, their parents and the influence their parents had on them. Millennials were raised by Boomer parents. These guys have been brought up by Generation X, who were and remain cynical, rebellious and want to do things their own way.”
Having lived through a global recession and no guarantee of higher education, Generation Edge understands that things in life will not come easily, Pierpoint says. Rather, they understand success is not guaranteed and do not take accomplishments for granted. Rather, they are more defined by their ability to roll with the punches, he says.
“Because of the way their parents have brought them up, they’ve got a bit of an edge,” Pierpoint says. “Millennials were not rebellious; they’re extremely conformist. Generation Edge want to cut their own path in life.”
Moving forward, brands that have cultivated a positioning as somehow rebellious or a non-conformist choice will do well against this new
demographic, Pierpoint says. “They’re a little like [their parents] Generation X,” he says.
“Where Millennials were idealistic, Gen Edge is realistic. Things are going to have to be more grounded and more realistic. It’s going to be much harder for brands to appear to align with social causes while not really doing that much. Where Millennials were willing to talk the talk, these guys are walking the walk a bit more.”
Despite being raised during trying times (those wanting to be shaken by a video of all this generation has experienced should head to generationedge.com), members still have some optimism. “They’re still young people, and that means they have more optimism in general. They’ve still got the sense that life is going to get better,” Pierpoint says. “These guys are resilient.”