Each generation brings its own uniqueness to the world, and these attitudes help shape the trends we see. As a millennial, I can see my generation moulding the world around us. This is even clearer, given that the most recent stats available show millennials make up almost half (46.54%) of the UAE’s population. Gen-Z also accounts for a large portion of people here, at just over a fifth of the population (20.94%). With such representation, it’s unsurprising that these generations influence so many movements affecting the whole country, from consumer tendencies to marketing techniques. So, what exactly are they shaping, and how?
Fashion and Consumerism
Fashion is an area that millennials and Gen-Z heavily influence in the UAE. As we all know, since the effects of the COVID pandemic, online shopping has become the new norm. Millennials have contributed greatly to this shift, being the most significant e-Commerce consumers in the UAE (at 29.2%). I, like many friends my age, appreciate the ease and convenience of online purchasing, and thanks to the other like-minded shoppers of my generation, this experience has been made more and more accessible. To benefit from this potentially lucrative market, many fashion retailers have improved their online presence to better suit this demographic. As well as this, members of Gen-Z are among the most concerned about the planet and global warming and the cohort is edging towards more sustainable clothing brands. This shift has the potential to change how fashion is developed, bringing the environmental impact of processes to the forefront of brand design.
As well as indirectly changing clothing trends, many modern marketing strategies are aimed at younger millennials and Generation Z, due to their knowledge of the digital world. Gen-Z are often described as ‘digital natives’, having grown up immersed in technology. Consequently, many products are designed and manufactured with this tech-savvy audience in mind. Luxury brands, for example, look to younger consumers to expand their brands, focusing on millennials and Gen-Z as key drivers of the UAE’s booming retail sector. For example, luxury brands often collaborate with influencers to showcase their products or host fashion weeks.
Online Streaming and Digital Trends
According to recent data, the core viewership of the most popular streaming platforms is, you guessed it, millennials and Gen-Z. Younger generations have been shaping cultural trends for many years, including digital trends. But the relationship is not all one-way traffic. Interestingly, 64% of millennials and 46% of Gen-Z believe streaming platforms, specifically audio content, have shaped their discovery and connection with different cultures. Therefore, it seems to me that the relationship between the user and content is symbiotic. Users are indirectly shaping available content through their preferences and behaviours, with platforms adapting their offerings to provide ‘more of the same’ or related content to those who use it most.
Music streaming platforms are dominated by millennials and Gen-Z, with Gen-Z engaging with the platform’s content in a range of ways. This helps to shape emerging trends in the industry. Millennials also make up the core viewership of the streaming service Netflix, changing the way that we watch TV by popularising on-demand viewing, ‘binge watching’, social media and smartphone viewing as the most common ways to enjoy our favourite shows.
Millennials and Gen-Z are even shaping travel trends. As we all know, social media platforms are incredibly popular, with daily use mostly falling to millennials and Gen-Z. Such popularity has revolutionised the ease of taking, editing and sharing photos, which has, in turn, become an important part of the travelling culture. Who hasn’t taken and retaken photos in pursuit of that perfect vacation snap? Countless travel and tourism companies have responded by creating ‘Instagram-perfect’ hotspots. These have shaped the look and feel of some of the world’s most sought-after destinations as a result. Dubai has been hailed as one of the most photogenic destinations worldwide, which is hardly a surprise to anyone who lives here!
According to travel statistics, millennials travel the most, with Gen-Z preferring cheaper vacation options. It’s also great to see that these generations value sustainability as one of the key factors influencing how and where they visit. As well as sustainability, these groups are also focused on diversity and inclusion when it comes to holidays.
Looking to the Future
As a millennial, it is a privilege for me to reflect on how my age group and those slightly younger have helped to establish some of the top trends of the moment. Yet I am aware, as generations before us can testify, that nothing lasts forever. Our influence and relevance will fade over time, but as a mother of two young daughters, I am also in the fortunate position of anticipating what their generation (Gen-Alpha) will bring to the world…