21 Aug 2018

Will millennials drive emerging market growth?

9 out of 10 of the world’s millennials live in emerging markets

With millennials making up more than one quarter of the world’s population, it’s important to understand where they are and what they’re feeling.

Often times, whenever you hear someone talking about millennials it's to say they are privileged, entitled, lazy narcissists. Millennials have been blamed for the death of specific industries or even the American economy. In fact, Millennials are killing... became a huge meme.

Time magazine's cover article in May 2013 titled "The Me Me Me Generation. Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents. Why they'll save us all." started to turn all the negative stereotypes on their heads. And move the conversation from negative backlash against a generation to seeing them for what they really are - a reflection of where the world is going rather than where it's been.

So where are we now? To truly understand the potential impact millennials can have, you need to take a global view. Here are just a few important facts about millennials:  

  • One-quarter of the world's population are millennials
  • 9 out of 10 of the world's millennials live in emerging economies
  • China's millennial population outnumbers the entire U.S. population
  • China has five times the number of millennials vs. the U.S.

Are all millennials the same?  

A Deloitte research study surveyed 8,000 millennials across 30 countries and the results revealed a notable disparity in mindset. They found that the millennials in emerging markets are far more optimistic and ambitious than their counterparts in developed economies. They also found that the emerging market millennials believe they will enjoy better financial (71%) and emotional (62%) than their parents.  

Also interesting to note is that emerging markets are rich with aspiring entrepreneurs. Whereas the number of American business owners under 30 has fallen by 65% since the 1980's.  

Now, given the fact that many millennials in developed economies are faced with student debt, high health care costs and high housing costs - it's not surprising that they have a lower appetite for the risk associated with entrepreneurship.    

What does it all mean?  

If emerging markets - home to approximately 90% of the world's millennials - become the centre for entrepreneurship in the global economy, where does that leave developing economies? Will emerging markets become the innovation hub of the future? How will millennial's interests shape the business landscape?   

The generational shifts in attitudes and politics always create the potential for change in business and investing. As we continue to think about and research the effects millennials are having in both developed and emerging markets, we want to know what you think. What potential do you see? What shifts do you think are coming that would require quick action to take advantage of? Let's have a conversation. Comment, discuss. Raise new questions. We want to know you and understand what you think. It's just part of how we do business.