If you think the Millenials are a hoodied lot of smartphone junkies and disconnected souls, you maybe mighty mistaken. I have a lot of faith in the Generation Y.
A recent study in the 'TIME' magazine discussed how increasing number of young men and women are living with their parents compared to the 1940s. Now, one would think that is really strange because reasons for living together in the 1940s would have been more economic as that was the depression era.
In 2014, it seems that almost 33% of women non-students were living with their parents. Examples (from the previous generation) of people giving up overseas jobs and coming back to their native town to stay with aging parents and maybe, do a bit of farming are just too many to cite here. Don't be surprised if this generation comes up with a totally viable solution on work–life balance that you and I have never been able to envisage.
The entire 'e-commerce' boom seems to hinge on the fact that Smartphone penetration is growing by large numbers. The Business Insider provides data that in 2015, while the rates were 81% and 80% in the US and UK respectively, they are as low as 45% in China and 27% in India.
My niece's friends ( in their early 20's ) are a Smartphone and App crazy lot. They shop online, they will definitely want to bank and invest online, they are open to meeting their partners online but wait, they are also a generation of people with back problems. They either have a neck ache, or a lower back ache or an ear ache ALL.THE.TIME. I wouldn't be surprised if they dump using the internet over smart phones and go back to a large screened monitor and a home computer soon. So if you have started a business that has no real value except for being an app that allows ordering online, you should think hard about its sustainability. Technology is an ENABLER - that's ALL.
I witnessed a debate taking shape in an uncorrelated workshop on whether Indian drapes at work should come back even in the office space. Cotton fabric in the form of Dhotis etc are best suited for tropical climates and the GenY may not shy away from embracing anything that is good for their health and general well being. I often hear the younger ones saying 'this is what I do, this is MY style!'
Samuelson and Nordhaus, the famous authors whose book on Macroeconomic theory was the most important text in our undergrad days, have replaced the chapter on 'Paradox of Thrift', admitting that it is now redundant and the US has seen something like a 'Consumption binge'. Individual saving, if translated into National Saving, paradoxically, is bad for the nation is a theory we believe in no more! More on this later.
Like I said, don't trust the Millenials to make or continue to make foolish choices. They are a smart, discerning, questioning lot, some of us may not be prepared for. They will win, the unprepared will lose. Watch out!
(The writer is a private banker in Mumbai who teaches and blogs at https://abaneetachakraborty.wordpress.com)