There aren't too many areas in which we take on China and come out on top, but age is one of them. While China has a largely ageing population, India's a sprightly young nation. Half of the Indian population is under 25 years of age and 65% is under 35. This is what makes Indian's millenial generation, born between 1980 and 2001, special. The youth segment of this country makes up the sections of society that are the target of advertisers, programmers and everyone who has anything to sell. They're also the people whose ambitions and habits are most likely to change the country. These are the people upon whom everyone's hopes are pinned. So the big question is, what's this millenial generation all about?
During a round table conference organised by Titan, Aditya Swamy (Executive VP, MTV India), Dr Bino Paul (chairperson, Tata Institute of Social Sciences), Kaustav Sengupta (associate professor at NIFT) and Sam Ahmed (vice chairman and creative director Of Rediffusion India) discussed what they've gathered about Generation Y on the basis of recent studies and surveys. Here are the five things you should know about India's youth
It's "the dictator" generation
According to a recent survey, 97% of this generation believes that they can change the world singlehandedly. They believe they are more empowered and know better than their predecessors. Gone are the days when mommy and daddy picked out college courses, or young men and women married the person decided for them by family. Today, making your own decisions and personal satisfaction are important factors. It's a confident generation that is determined to have its way.
Meet the exhibitionists
The mantra by which the youth live is "I tweet, therefore I am". There's little wariness of putting one's life up on the public platorms offered by social media. From sharing honeymoon pictures to announcing a change in your relationship status on Facebook, Generation Y takes great pleasure in opening up to the world at large. It's not just an exhibitionist streak though. The sharing leads to a sense of belonging and kinship with a community that isn't location-specific.
Costless friends 4 eva!
While earlier maintain friendships meant a considerable about of investment -- like handing out tissues when friends went through crisis situations, remembering birthdays, sending gifts, -- the internet has resulted in a generation that needs to invest very little in exchange for the relationships that sustain them. A few casual tweets and 500-odd people pop up to comment on how pretty they look each time they upload a picture. Say you're no longer with your significant other and your Facebook friends will swamp you with virtual hugs and advice. Friendship took more effort in the age before social media, which is why online relationships are dubbed "costless".
Experience is the spice of life
While our predecessors wanted job and money so that they could do responsible things like buy a house, get a proper family car and earn financial security for themselves and their family, Generation Y wants to live it up. More important than security is experience, which is why this generation spends its money on what the older folk consider frivolous: travel, nightlife, gadgets and consumption-driven activities.
The Vodka Factor
According to Kaustav Sengupta, vodka is the favourite drink of this generation. Every year sees a 25% rise in the number of people owing their allegiance to vodka. Sengupta suggested this popularity comes from vodka's versatility: it has no smell, can be transformed into a variety of cocktails and also works on its own as a solo drink. This means it can be personalised in a multitude of ways and the way you like your vodka can be distinctively your own.
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