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Main Dictionary G

Generation Gap

Generation gap is a phenomenon that demonstrates that the cultural values and preferences of the younger generation are very different from the cultural and other values of the older generation. To be more precise, the generation gap shows the dissimilarities in ideas, beliefs, preferences and actions of representatives of different generations. We can notice signs of a generation gap in different spheres, for instance, in economical and political spheres. Although this phenomenon existed even in ancient times, the breadth of differences of the gaps has become bigger in the last two centuries. 

Generation Gap Explained

The study of generation gaps is extremely significant not only for large corporations, but also for small companies. Trying to understand what drives generations and what needs they have helps companies sell their products to different consumers. They should pay attention to socioeconomic factors in order to make much profit and be competitive in the market. 

The first recorded utterance of the term “generation gap” was in the 1960s. At that time children that were born between 1946 and 1964 started to have other values and thoughts in comparison with their parents. 

Experts in sociology came up with a system of terms to differentiate generations. For instance, “digital natives” refers to the representatives of Gen Z as they were born after the digital revolution and are used to receiving information through digital communication channels from an early age. 

On the other hand, people of older generations are called “digital immigrants”. They began to discover the Internet in adulthood and now they feel like immigrants in the digital world. Therefore, tech companies bring products to market and promote them differently depending on the age group. 

Overview of Generations

Nowadays 6 generational groups make up our society and they differ from each other in workplace attitudes, lifestyles, perception of things. 

Greatest generation. Representatives of this generation were born from 1901 to 1927. This name primarily refers to the citizens of the US who were brought up during the Great Depression and then participated in World War II. They played a great role in turning the US into a country with the largest economy. This generation is characterized by devotion to the country and great teamwork. 

Silent generation. This generation is defined as people born from 1928 to 1945. It includes most of those who fought in the Korean War. Meanwhile, younger members danced to Elvis rock 'n' roll, fought for justice and equality. The representatives of the silent generation are described as more traditional and practical than the baby boomers, though this definition may be wrong for them. 

Baby boomers. This term is applied to people born from 1943 to 1965. The name comes from the increase in the birth rate. This post-war generation took part in alteration of the social order of a society and changed the course of history fighting for civil rights and equal opportunities for women. 

Generation X. People who were born from about 1965 to 1980 belong to generation X. In the US Generation X is usually referred to as the generation of people born during the decline in the birth rate, which came after the demographic explosion. This generation, at the height of its social life, found itself in a situation where technology began to change drastically, causing social transformation. Fax machines were left behind, when electronic mail was developed. Computers became smaller and more powerful in comparison with the first mechanical computing devices. 

Millennials. Millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996. This generational group is characterized by high involvement in the digital world. They were aware of what cable TV, pagers and other digital technologies are. They witnessed such events as shooting at Columbine High School, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. They were also affected by the economic recession of 2008-2009.

Generation Z. This term is used for people born from about 1996 to 2012. Representatives of this generation use tablets and virtual reality technologies. The term “gen Z” is usually considered as a synonym of the term “digital natives” as since childhood they were used to receiving information through devices. They never lived in a world where there was no Internet, social networks and cellphones. It was assumed that generation Z would be interested in science and technology, would work in such spheres as biomedicine, robotics, and would have great financial perspectives. But the economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic changed plans and the future of this generation is now unclear. Members of this generation are very tolerant, they respect people, raise important issues, and avoid racism and sexism. 

Understanding Generations

Companies need to know how generations differ to offer products in the market the right way and should be aware of what a generation gap is. First of all, they should focus on what kind of product or service they sell and who their likely customers are. After that, the best strategy is to learn how to sell them avoiding any stereotypes. 

Brands should stick to their identity. For instance, if consumers don’t perceive your company as a young one, then using slang to offer your products to “digital natives” will be seen as fake and may have the opposite result. 

Baby boomers hold the most wealth of any generation and have high purchasing power. That’s why their needs and interests shouldn’t be ignored. Meanwhile, millennials will soon be middle-aged and will be ready to spend money on purchasing a car or a house. Taking into consideration all these factors will be useful in marketing. 

Besides, a company should understand where to offer their products and services. Although many baby boomers got used to using devices, some of them still read newspapers and watch TV. And that’s what businesses should pay attention to as well. 

Marketing digitally is the best strategy for members of gen Z as they are exploring the world through smartphones. 

Conclusion

We can talk about a generation gap when different opinions on politics, society, culture and other spheres between representatives of different age groups emerge. The reason why the generation gap appears is that generational groups grew up in non-identical worlds and they were influenced by various factors. 

Companies should understand what is hidden behind the term “generation gap” to find the right target audience and be competitive in the market. 

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