Natalie Akoorie

Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Gen Y research debunks youth stereotypes

New Zealanders aged between 15 and 30 quickly identify with six definite lifestyle ‘tribes’ created by market research company
A picture has emerged that breaks down stereotypes and helps older generations understand what makes Gen Y tick.Photo / Thinkstock
A picture has emerged that breaks down stereotypes and helps older generations understand what makes Gen Y tick.Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand's Generation Y is made up of six types of people, according to new research which debunks assumptions that young Kiwis are binge-drinking, hoodie-wearing troublemakers.

The study by Colmar Brunton breaks the country's generation of 15- to 30-year-olds into six profiles, or "tribes". They are: Family Focused - home and hearth; Ladder Climbers - going for gold; Money equals Status - what's in it for me?; Idealists - I'm true to myself; Spontaneous Spenders - live for the now; and Solitary Savers - staying out of the limelight.

Colmar Brunton youth specialist Spencer Willis said the research reveals an array of insights into the diverse nature of those born between 1984 and 2000.

And instead of the sweeping negative generalisations used to portray New Zealand's youth, a picture has emerged that breaks down stereotypes and helps older generations understand what makes Gen Y tick.

"We go through so much in this Gen Y period," Mr Willis said. "We fall in love, we fall out of love. We get married, we get divorced. We buy a house, we get a third career."

It was about understanding the generation, not by their behaviour, but by the choices they made, he said. Age played a role in what "tribe" they fitted into.

Those surveyed were questioned about their aspirations and goals, money, free time, media, relationships, shopping habits and consumption preferences.

Based on their responses the research segmented Gen Y Kiwis into the six distinct "tribes".

While 64 per cent of women identified with being family focused, 72 per cent of men who believed they fitted into money equals status felt they were defined by their career.

Mr Willis said the Gen Y Tribes concept had struck a chord with young New Zealanders.

"When I present this research to young people, 'That's me' is a common reaction. Young people immediately seem to relate to the segmentation and quickly identify with their particular tribe."

The research was aimed at advertisers, marketers, brand managers, business owners and those in charge of government budgets to help them better target the youth market.

It was also designed to change society's perceptions of Gen Y, a generation that will rival the size of Baby Boomers according to Mr Willis, who said Gen Y's decades of heaviest consumption were still ahead of them.

"They are already growing up, starting families, building lives and buying big-ticket items as well as everyday products.

"They are the consumers of the future and this research gives significant insights into the things that push their buttons."

Youthline chief executive Stephen Bell said the research let people see into Gen Y, to begin to understand the different motives that drive and concern New Zealand's young people.

- NZ Herald

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