How people born in the 90s will affect the consumption of the future

02 May 2017

Everyone knows that people born in the 40s and 60s have had a major impact on society and consumption. Now it’s time for the next big group, those born in the 90s. But how will the first fully digital generation actually affect your business?

Major population changes have historically brought new values and behaviors that affect both society and the market. Now that the largest group since the sixties is growing up, the question is what will happen.

There are several things that separate those born in the 90s from those born in the 40s and 60s. They have grown up with internet and mobile phones. They live and socialize online. The confidence in the establishment is weaker than in previous generations, and probably they will choose completely different solutions than the established “truths” that society and businesses use today.

For the younger generation, the future is definitely bright. They want change and see new solutions to major issues such as the climate threat. They have a strong faith in themselves and believe that they can shape their own lives. The question is how this change in behavior will affect consumption and social development in the future. To what end will today’s young people use their strong driving force?

“Personally, I think companies daring to bring people born in the 90s into their organization and giving them a role in the future of the company will be winners and survivors.”

Per Selin, analyst at Bisnode


How purchasing decisions are made

To exemplify, we can look at how these young people retrieve their information for a purchase decision. They like to involve more people, seek a lot of information and read what others think. The internet is an important channel where there are no geographical boundaries to consider. They are “residents” online because they live in this world full-time.

The middle-aged and elderly, on the other hand, mainly use the internet to work, send emails and seek information. They are called “tourists” because they come to visit, find what they are looking for and then disappear back to their usual world.

Almost 80 percent of the younger population see the internet as a primary source of information and close to half turn on the computer to watch TV — the same amount who read online advertisements. Among the older population, the figure is just over 20 percent.

News consumption

The internet also dominates news intake. Other daily newspapers and business magazines have most of their readers among middle-aged and older people.

This new behavior will obviously influence the world, which will change as such a large group of people begin to shape their society. It was exactly the same with people born in the forties and sixties.

Next step for people born in the 90s

When people born in the nineties now form families and enter the so-called consumption phase, we will most likely experience a very strong economic boom. But we will probably also suffer from a subsequent steep downhill; there were very few children born around the turn of the millennium. So, the next few years will probably be turbulent, much will change and the shifts will be rapid.

New marketing strategies

We must understand that the playing field for marketers and companies is becoming increasingly complex. While major changes in population distribution affect behavior and values, the digitization of the market continues. This means that there are likely to be different strategy needs to communicate with customers. A strategy that follows the old truths and addresses the tourists, and one that addresses the digital residents.

How to reach the consumers of the future

“Personally,” says Per Selin, analyst at Bisnode, “I think companies daring to bring people born in the 90s into their organization and giving them a role in the future of the company will be winners and survivors. It’s the same philosophy that Gillette has when they appoint a project team with one task consisting of representatives from selected parts of the organization.”

“The mandate is: ‘Develop a razor that is better than the one we will launch on the market now.’ They know very well that they are the market leader, and to continue in that role, it is necessary for them to do something that no one else does.”

We also need to realize that it is easier nowadays for a customer to find an alternative than to make a repeat purchase. You can no longer attract unprofitable customers with high discounts and then try to build profitability in the long run. It does not work on the younger target groups. Perhaps the key to success is to start defining customers and markets based on the population cycle they are born in, what local and global values they have, and whether they are tourists or residents of the digital world.

What separates the generations


  • Born in the 40s: food, wine, travel, history, culture, finances, literature
  • Born in the 60s: travel, entertainment, healthy food, exercise, film, food, wine
  • Born in the 90s: film, exercise, music, fashion, entertainment, health, travel 

Choice of profession:

  • Born in the 40s: administration/finance, educational professions, health care
  • Born in the 60s: technology/IT/telecom, administration, health care
  • Born in the 90s: sales/marketing, hotel/restaurant, health care