imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

Gen X, Y or Z – what are you?

Have you heard about the street word udong, fellas?

Literally, udong is a term for one from the barrio to go to poblacion. But to the younger generation, udong is a street word for old-fashioned. It became a popular word at the turn of the century by people under Generation Y. So if a person belongs to Generation Y and Z, definitely, he doesn’t know the songs of Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Matt Monro, or even The Beatles.

What separates Generation Y from X, and is Generation Z a thing? How old is each generation? Are they really that different?

Lately, a former student came to invite us on her birthday. I overheard her conversing with a male teacher (I work at the DepEd).

“So, how old will you be this Monday?” the teacher asked.

“Sir, I will be 16. Sir, what happened to you? You’ve grown so old.”

Wittingly, the teacher retorted: “People grow old, but our birthdays remain the same!”

“That’s because you probably belong to Generation X, sir!”

Here are the breakdown in generations based on my research:

Baby Boomers: Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. They’re currently between 56-74 years old.

Gen X: Gen Xs were born between 1965 and 1979/80 and are currently between 40-55 years old.

Gen Y: Gen Y, or Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1994/6. They are currently between 24-39 years old.

Gen Y is subdivided into 2: Gen Y.1 = 25-29 years old while Gen Y.2 = 29-39 years old.

Gen Z: Gen Z is the newest generation to be named and were born between 1997 and 2012/15. They are currently between 8-23 years old.

The term “Millennial” has become the popular way to refer to both segments of Gen Y.

Realistically, the name Generation Z is a placeholder for the youngest people on the planet. It is likely to change anew as they leave childhood and mature into their adolescent and adult identities.

Why are generations named after letters?

It started with Generation X, people born between 1965-1980. The preceding generation was the Baby Boomers, born 1946-1964. In the post-World War II era, people were enjoying new-found prosperity, which resulted in a “baby boom.” The children born as a result were dubbed the Baby Boomers.

But the generation that followed the Boomers didn’t have a clear cultural identity, in fact, that’s the anecdotal origin of the term Gen X — illustrating the undetermined characteristics they would come to be known by. From there on it was all down-alphabet. The generation following Gen X naturally became Gen Y, born 1981-1996 (give or take a few years on either end). The term “Millennial” is widely credited to Neil Howe, along with William Strauss. The pair coined the term in 1989 when the impending turn of the millennium began to feature heavily in the cultural consciousness.

Generation Z refers to babies born from the mid-2000s through today, although the term isn’t yet widely used. This may signal the end of the alphabet generation since a flurry of potential labels has appeared like Gen Tech, post-Millennials, iGeneration, Gen Y-Fi and Zoomers.

Why is Gen Y splitted, fellas?

Research noticed that not all Millennials are currently in the same stage of life. While all Millennials were born around the turn of the century, some of them are still in early adulthood, wrestling with new careers and settling down, while the older Millennials have a home and are building a family. You can imagine how having a child might change your interests and priorities, so for marketing purposes, it’s useful to split this generation into Gen Y.1 and Gen Y.2.

Now, what makes each generation different?

 Media Consumption: Baby boomers are the biggest consumers of traditional media like television, radio, magazines and newspaper. Despite being so traditional 90% of baby boomers have a Facebook account. This generation has begun to adopt more technology in order to stay in touch with family members and reconnect with old friends. Boomers prefer to go into a branch to perform transactions. This generational cohort still prefers to use cash, especially for purchases. This generation has the most wealth and is looking to help their children grow to be financially stable. They have the belief that you should take care of your children enough to set them on the right course and don’t plan on leaving any inheritance.

 Now, here comes Gen X. Gen X still reads newspapers, magazines, listens to the radio, and watches TV. However, they are also digitally knowledgeable and spend roughly 7 hours a week on Facebook (the highest of any generational cohort). Since they are digitally adept, Gen X will do some research and financial management online, but still prefer to do transactions in person. They believe banking is a person-to-person business and demonstrate brand loyalty. Gen X is trying to raise a family and take care of aging parents. These demands put a high strain on their resources.

And what do the Millennials or Gen Y do? Ninety five percent still watch TV, but Netflix edges out traditional cable as the preferred provider. Cord-cutting in favor of streaming services is the popular choice. This generation is extremely comfortable with mobile devices but 32% go online for purchases. They typically have multiple social media accounts. Millennials have less brand loyalty than previous generations. They prefer to shop product and features first and have little patience for inefficient or poor service. Because of this, Millennials place their trust in brands with superior product history such as Apple and Google. They seek digital tools to help manage their debt and see their banks as transactional as opposed to relational.

Let’s go to Gen Z, fellas.

The average Gen Z received their first mobile phone between ages 5-10 years of age. Many of them grew up playing with their parents’ mobile phones or tablets. They have grown up in a hyper-connected world and the smartphone is their preferred method of communication. On average, they spend 3 hours a day on their mobile device. They live in a world of smartphones and social media, never minding what’s happening in the world.

Do generations use technology differently?

Although Baby Boomers may trail Gen X and Millennials on technology usage, the rate at which Boomers expand their use of technology is accelerated. In fact, Boomers are now far more likely to own a smartphone than they were in 2011 (68% now vs. 25% then).

Overall, the Boomers and Gen X “want to belong.” Gen Y may deem themselves the 21st century people manning the more important aspects of science and technology while those at Gen Z see themselves the inheritors of a hi-tech world going into Gen Tech, post-Millennials, iGeneration, Gen Y-Fi or Zoomers generation.

Generations come and go but the end thing is: Do these generations generate much talent to nurture this earth to further make it a habitable planet for more generations? Or do these generations exist to end all generations in the near generations?

So whether you are baby Boomer or you belong to Gen X, Y or Z, let’s always make this world a better place to live in than when we were born.

Generations don’t matter.

This world, our lives, our loved ones and our values matter more.