The Nomad Generation

The nomad generation, a product of several global trends

The Nomad Generation is a product of several global trends

We’ve all talked a lot about Generation Rent and sympathised with the plight of Millennials who have found themselves in a society in which getting on the housing ladder has become nigh on impossible.

We have, however, ignored one vital element regarding their situation – with no property tethering them to one particular place, Generations Y** and Z** are essentially free. Free of any obligations to a town, city, country or continent, and at liberty to move around as much as they please.

For a cohort that measures success in an entirely different way to its predecessors this makes complete sense. As life fulfilment is a higher priority than job stability, being able to travel and experience different cultures and locations is a must.

The Nomad Generation is a cohort that measures success in an entirely different way, valuing life fulfilment higher than job stability Click To Tweet

Globalisation has meant that travel has never been easier or cheaper, and internet connectivity makes freelancing via a laptop in a café just as feasible as working from a PC in an office.

Equally, ownership is becoming less attractive to consumers who are able to access products such as cars and phones without having to buy them. For Millennials and Centennials, who value experiences over possessions, this makes being able to up sticks and move to a new location even easier.

Of course, the global megatrend that has helped the Nomad Generation evolve is urbanisation. Young people are naturally drawn to cities where the entertainment, education, jobs and social life they seek are readily available.

But while urban areas continue to become more densely populated, this has caused problems for places where there has been a big shift in population. Some are offering rewards to entice members of the Nomad Generation to relocate there. In 2013 Detroit offered young professionals a salary to live and work there for a year. Since then, similar programmes have been tried in Tulsa in Oklahoma, the Greek island of Antikythera, Candela in Italy, and Görlitz in Germany – it seems that these are offers that young nomads are not afraid to take up.

So why does all this matter?

The evolution of a generation of nomadic consumers is bound to affect the way in which we live in our homes. The number of developments of rental housing with shared social spaces, such as those created by Tipi in London’s Wembley Park, is likely to grow. Places combining smaller private apartments with larger communal cooking and dining areas, gardens and co-working spaces will become increasingly popular.

In tandem with this, premiumisation (the trend for rejecting mass consumption in favour of possessing fewer, higher-quality items) is also likely to increase – good news for manufacturers and retailers of premium products.

One thing is for sure – as geography becomes less important, a strong digital presence is vital. Generation Z is the first generation who grew up on social media and can navigate the internet with instinctive ease when they wish to research a product.

While they may be on the move, they are constantly connected, and this is something to bear in mind. The one place you can be sure to find them is on their mobile phones.

**
Generation Y – the generation born in the 1980s and 1990s, comprising primarily the children of the baby boomers and typically perceived as increasingly familiar with digital and electronic technology.
Generation Z – the newest generation to be named and born between 1995 and 2015.

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