Sharing: As the Indian Millennial Likes It
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What do millennials want? That’s the big question every business is asking today. As the 20th century’s last generation, growing up in a world of digital empowerment, the millennial cohort is rewriting the rules of the economy. Unlike their predecessors, Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X (born between 1965 and 1979), these digital natives have actively defied classification, opting for unconventional lifestyles and smarter solutions to persistent challenges.
Millennials – as those born between 1980 and 2000 are popularly called – are driving the growth of peer-to-peer platforms that provide access to shared goods and services across the globe. Sharing economy or collaborative consumption is the new normal. By 2025, the global sharing economy is expected to touch $335 billion. Right from transportation and accommodation to education and financial services, collaborative consumption is steadily disrupting almost every industry.
Given that Indian millennials are estimated to constitute close to 40 per cent of the country’s population by 2020, it’s time we figured out what this all-important demographic desires. Here’s looking at four things that top the millennial wish list:
Own less, experience more – that’s the millennial mantra. Studies show that this generation value experiences more than material goods. The emphasis is on access, not ownership. So, buying a home is no longer a life goal or symbol of economic security. The millennial mindset is to invest in unique life experiences.
Co-living is the buzzword among millennials, not only in Europe and the US but also in many parts of India. It offers an attractive housing alternative for the Indian millennial looking for solutions to dreadful urban housing problems. Strategically located close to business hubs and designed efficiently, co-living residences save on time, money and energy.
Attracting and retaining millennials is easier, says the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018, when the workplace offers higher degrees of flexibility. From flexible work hours and flexible roles to the ability to work from various locations, millennials value agile setups that safeguard against the threat of mundane existence.
For urban millennials, who move jobs (and homes) every 20 months or so, co-living offers the best solution. The whole process of relocating to a new place – whether in the same city, country or continent – becomes effortless, when the furnishings, kitchen utilities and maintenance services are taken care of. Working on the plug-and-play model, co-living saves millennials the hassles of everyday household chores. What’s more, depending on customer requirements, the lease can range from three months to a year!
Studies suggest that more than 40 per cent of millennials suffer from chronic loneliness. Millennials crave for social and happy environments that facilitate face-to-face interactions and meaningful bonding. As the lines between work life and personal life continue to blur and ‘scrolling fatigue’ becomes constant, Indian millennials long to disconnect from the virtual world and belong to a community of like-minded individuals.
Co-living spaces are smartly designed, with community kitchens and cosy hang-out nooks, to facilitate easy conversations and organic connections with diverse sets of people. The idea is to create a place like home – albeit with fun barbeque parties, board games, movie nights, weekend brunches, and more!
Having come of age in an era of economic turmoil, despite their apparent affluence, millennials worldwide are considered to be the most cost-conscious consumers. That’s not to say that they are unwilling to spend, but that they demand value for their money.
The sharing economy has shaped a new generation of startups that is designing innovative solutions to meet millennial demands. Co-living, for instance, promotes space sharing and cost optimisation in such a way that it cuts the cost of living by as much as 15-18 per cent while giving them an upgraded quality of life. Intelligent use of space, by sharing lower utilisation areas with a larger community, offers an economically viable solution to the mounting space crunch issues in Indian cities.
To sum up
Way back in 2003, Freecycle (reusing of goods) and CouchSurfing (accommodation for travellers) encouraged the exchange of goods among peers for free. What’s changed today is the accessibility and convenience, thanks to better digital ecosystems. And millennial consumers who personify the changing pervasive mindset – from ownership to sharing.
Early players like Airbnb and Uber, disrupting the traditional markets, have created more opportunities for millennials to live the life they want. Nonetheless, there are countless more opportunities waiting to be tapped, especially for entrepreneurs in India. Co-living is where I’m putting my money. Because what the Indian millennial wants is a new definition of home.