‘Woke, broke and complicated’ young consumers under the spotlight

By our News Team | 2023

The Economist examines the formidable mass of younger buyers with a very different mindset to their predecessors.

Given Africa’s expanding population of young people, the continent’s marketers have long been aware of the importance of this segment when developing their strategies. But in developed markets, which frequently have an ageing buyer demographic, this is sometimes less so.

Last week, though, the respected The Economist magazine again emphasised to marketers in these countries that “today’s youngsters” (which it classifies as Gen Z and Millennial consumers) are developing into a formidable mass of buyers with a very different mindset to their predecessors.

Consumer Trends

Photo by Cottonbro Studio from Pexels

“They are woke (socially aware), broke and complicated. Businesses should take note,” the publication warned. “As these youngsters start spending in earnest, brands are trying to understand what these walking paradoxes want and how they shop. The answers will define the next era of consumerism.”

Quoting a 2022 study by McKinsey, the Economist notes that the consultancy found less than half of Gen-Zeders believed they would ever own a home, while a quarter doubted they would ever be able to retire. These expectations were previously societal bedrocks in many countries. 

Tendency towards impulsive spending

Observing that the younger cohort has “thin wallets and expensive tastes”, the article says they nevertheless tend to spend impulsively. 

“Uncertainty about the future may be encouraging impulsive spending of limited resources in the present. The young were disrupted more by Covid than other generations and are now enjoying the rebound,” the article says. 

Millennials in the US, for example, spent 17% more in the year through to March 2022 than they did the year before.

Easy access to means of spreading payments may also encourage splashing out. Quoting market research firm Forrester, the article notes that most users of ‘buy now, pay later’ apps are a few years either side of 20.

And while this group of young consumers professes to be more values-driven than previous generations, there are contradictions. 

Their appetite for instant gratification, for example, is also fuelling some distinctly ‘ungreen’ consequences. “The environmental benefits of eating plants rather than meat can be quickly undone if meals are delivered in small batches by a courier on a petrol-powered motorcycle,” The Economist says.

You can read the full article (free registration required) here.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop

    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.