Millennials are often perceived as lazy, antisocial, apathetic, and obsessed with technology, but their culture of ownership definitely proves otherwise. Here are five ways Generation Y is redefining ownership and shifting our perception of the material world.
1. The DIY Movement
Millennials, unlike baby boomers, literally own less as a consequence of years of global economic turmoil. Because they can’t afford to buy more stuff and they want to prove their independence, Millennials pioneered the “maker” or DIY movement. Millennials reign supreme when it comes to crafting. The resurgence of the DIY culture, with a touch of technology, expresses the Millennial desire for active participation, entrepreneurism, creativity, individual customization, and experiential value.
2. Virtual Possession
Technology is perhaps the major enabler that shaped the Millennial mindset and culture of ownership. While their parents hoarded vinyl records, CDs, and DVDs, Millennials tuck away their virtual possessions in their digital closets. The same goes with print media, such as books, magazines, and newspapers. E-books have stronger appeal because they take up less physical space, or none at all, and are suitable for their mobile lifestyles. Millennials don’t care about how many toys or comic books they have because they place higher value on their digital footprints than physical ones.
Millennials have been bitten by the travel bug and have since been reshaping the travel and tourism market. Despite economic crises and high unemployment rates plaguing our country, the population of Millennials with insatiable wanderlust is surprisingly growing. Their nomadic sensibilities are quite inspiring. For them, traveling is a worthier investment than a car or a fully-furnished house. Because they are rarely home, they don’t feel the need to own more physical goods. Millennials would go see exciting places even on a shoestring budget, take bold but calculated risks and (thanks to social media) inspire others to have adventures of their own.
4. Social Media
Millennials place a bigger value on status updates than the real status of their lives. Experience and being able to share experiences are superior to owning more material possessions. Just look at the “Instagrammable” phenomenon. Millennials are more interested in finding visual artifacts, exotic eats, and far-flung places that will make more awesome and unique Facebook and Instagram photos. Shiny new cars and a fabulous flat just don’t elicit the same satisfaction for echo boomers. Simply put, experiences are more valuable than physical goods.
5. Entrepreneurial Mindset
Studies show that Generation Y is an entrepreneurial generation. Millennials take their ideas and hobbies seriously and turn them into business models. And guess what, they are succeeding, creating unique niches and having a positive impact on the economy. This entrepreneurial mindset only developed due to rising rates of unemployment in the country. And, the idea that you get to be your own boss is just too appealing for this generation.
Although most Millennials tend to rely on technology so much, they can be passionate, too. They may not have had a purely adventurous childhood, but this cultural shift in ownership proves how much you can make out of less.