Blog's home page Subscribe to Randy's blog

The craziness of X, Y and Z stereotyping

I’ve had it! This is absolutely insane, continually stereotyping generations (GenX, GenY, GenZ and Baby Boomers) as if everyone in them is the same. The latest push is now article after article about GenZ. I guess the good news is that we will stop being inundated with article after article about GenY, also known as Millennials. Right now, Google shows over 93 million results for Millennials and only around 4 million for Gen Z. However, the count for Gen Z appears to be rapidly growing.

GenZs, also known as Centennials or iGen, are defined to be between ages 8 and 22. Just consider how crazy one article is that just cited, “GenZers hand over more money for food and drink than any another spending category (including clothing)” Get real! Did they survey how an 8-year-old spends her allowance money (maybe on candy, but certainly not on clothing) versus how a teenager does versus how a 22-year-old medical student does? You can’t lump them all together in a survey without getting mush. It doesn’t tell you anything.

It’s no different with Millennials, who are currently between ages 23 and 38. What does the spending habits or lifestyle of a 23-year-old college grad single male who is an apprentice at some Wall Street firm living with his parents in a condo in Manhattan have to do with a 30-year-old high school graduate childless couple who work in manufacturing and live in a small town apartment or with a graduate degree 38-year-old couple, one of whom is a doctor, with two children living in a home in an upscale suburban neighborhood?

Yes, there may be some common traits that some portion of each generation has, but they do not necessarily apply to everyone in that generation nor are those traits limited to that generation. Yes, a very high percentage of Millennials have smartphones, but Baby Boomers also have smartphones, just not as high a percentage.

I remember an experience I had over a year ago when I first started using Apple Pay at stores. I’m no Millennial, way past their age. I used Apple Pay to pay for some groceries. The young Millennial cashier watched me do it and had an expression on her face like I was from outer space doing some sort of magic. She had never seen Apple Pay before and didn’t know what it was until I explained it. So, who was so tech savvy like the literature leaves us to believe? It sure wasn’t all the Millennials and it sure wasn’t limited to Millennials.

Let’s stop all this craziness using GenX, GenY, Gen Z and Baby Boomers as generational stereotypes and start surveying and defining consumers’ characteristics and habits by more realistic tighter age groupings, their sociodemographics, lifestyles, and other traits that are far more defining and revealing.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.