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Sayles: It's sunset for Millennials
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Sayles: It's sunset for Millennials

From the ICYMI: Stories from the weekend series

Just when I was starting to get pretty good at navigating the landmines of my seemingly endless faux pas with the misunderstood and often maligned Millennial world, my dash of hubris is crushed by the scientific declaration that they are, as of now, yesterday's news.

For not the first time in my life, I can hear the sucking sound of a vacuum created by the rapid emptying of cranium space so recently devoted to keeping the peace with a generation now declared defunct.

In 2020, to be inside my head, will be a very lonely place indeed. I have to start all over and begin the grandfatherly trial and error that was so painful with the Millennials, for the next birth cohort marching into the new decade; "The Centennials."

So, how did we get to this earth-changing conclusion that the nemesis of the once all-mighty Baby-Boomer generation is no longer an America-like Superpower, but now closely resembling the status of say … Great Britain?

Well, as the past two decades or so have come and gone near infinite time and money have been invested by the people trying to pocket Millennial dollars to figure out how they buy and even trickier, how they think and how they react.

As our Millennial children have turned us Boomers upside down and inside out, questioning everything we were certain that we knew, generational think-tanks have been hyper-active, operating in the background and making billions of dollars selling information to anyone willing to pay up, trying to understand this largest part of our population.

At the summit of these generational think tanks is perched the analytics firm, "The Center for Generational Kinetics." This group, lead by founders Dr. Denise Villa and analytics guru Jason Dorsey has been showcased in media such as "60 Minutes," Forbes, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Berkshire-Hathaway's annual meeting, The New York Times, The Economist and on and on and on.

The CGK Team consists of mathematicians, scientists, statisticians, psychologists, human resources professionals, marketers, management analysts, supply chain gurus, operations management and most importantly IT systems engineers to mix all the ingredients together and bake the perfect analytic cake necessary to identify generational paradigm shifts before they happen.

The difference between being the next Amazon rather than the next Toys R Us is precisely anticipating the ceaseless shifts in your product portfolio and the methods and means to put it in the hands of a completely satisfied customer.

So, who are these Centennials and what are they up to? The holiday buying season provided solid data showing that these kids are going to be way different than their older siblings and cousins.

Centennials, as the name implies were born after the year 2000. The span illustrating the outside parameters varies a little, but the defining birth years are 2000-2020.

Centennial Trends You Need to Know (and I think you may like!)

  • They like to shop in stores for entertainment and face-to-face social activity.
  • They are increasingly self-aware, self-reliant, innovative and goal-oriented. More Centennials will attend and complete college or trade-schools than any other previous generation. They will also choose options avoiding student debt.
  • 47% of Centennials ages 13-19 eliminated Facebook in favor of more peer-to-peer social media and texting platforms. Facebook is for "old" people.
  • They will be practical, realistic, yet highly creative problem solvers. Deep theoretical analyses and "Too Much Talk" will cause Centennials to disengage entirely.
  • There will be more community volunteers within the Centennials per capita than any previous generation.
  • They will seek a decent living with a stable employer to whom they will demonstrate a longer-term loyalty. The practical aspects of financial prudence and an insistence on volunteering to help for the common good indicates Centennials will be a generation of uncommon stewards.

As I start to digest this very pleasant warm and fuzzy sensation of realizing Centennials are the generation of my grandkids, I think that filling my mind back up will be way better and so much more fun than I thought.

By the way, Happy New Year, Millennials.


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