retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe has a story about the Millennial Generation, noting that while it is "the first to grow up with smartphones in their hands," and often is "stereotyped as lazy and entitled," exactly the opposite may be true.

Workplace experts, the writes, "say workaholics are common among 19-to-35-year-olds, perhaps more so than among older members of Generation X and baby boomers. In one online study, more than 4 in 10 millennials consider themselves 'work martyrs' - dedicated, indispensable, and racked with guilt if they take time off."

In fact, rather than being a generation accustomed to getting trophies for just showing up, millennials may actually be programmed to work harder and longer.

"Even though the economy has improved markedly in recent years, young people in the workforce today have record levels of student loan debt," the Globe writes. "They are also less likely than previous generations to earn more than their parents, according to a Stanford University report. The percentage of children who are better off than their parents has dropped dramatically — 50 percent of those born in the 1980s have a higher standard of living than their parents, compared with 90 percent of those born in the 1940s.

"The way millennials were raised may play into their always-on mindset, too, said Bob Kelleher, a Boston-based employee engagement consultant and author. Many of them were highly scheduled, he said, going to soccer camps, enrolling in SAT prep courses, and competing on the debate team in order to get into a good college. And some have delayed several of the responsibilities of adulthood, he noted, living with their parents and putting off marriage and kids. That frees them up to work even more."
KC's View:
I've always thought that millennials get a bad rap. It isn't that all millennials or either workaholics or goof-offs ... just as it isn't true that all Baby Boomers are either workaholics or goof-offs.

For retailers, I think, it is worth paying attention to these shifting trends ... because it means that millennials are likely to be a center of the marketing target a lot later than earlier generations, which will have a real impact on spending and profitability.