Numbering 92m, the millennial generation in the US is the largest demographic cohort in the country’s history.
As this group approaches its prime working and spending years, the impact on the economy is going to be huge.
So predicts Goldman Sachs, which has compiled a fascinating note on the factors that will shape this new “millennial economy”. The bank's starting point is that millennials are markedly different from previous generations. Born between 1980 and 2000, they have come of age during a time of rapid technological change, globalisation and economic disruption.
This has given them experiences and behaviours not shared by their parents. Perhaps most significantly, millennials are the first generation of digital natives. Technology is touching every aspect of their lives, including how they shop. The latest GS Research-Condé Nast millennial shopping survey bears this out. It found that millennials moved even more of their purchasing online over the past year, with Amazon cited as an increasingly common destination for fashion and beauty shoppers.
Having instant access to price comparisons, product information and peer reviews is also influencing the way that they buy products and services.
Read more: How millennials will influence finance
Millennials have also proven reluctant to buy big ticket items such as cars and luxury goods. Instead, they’re turning to a new set of services that provide access to products without the burdens of ownership. Experiences are increasingly valued above physical assets.
This generation also devoted more time and money to exercising and eating well. Their active lifestyle has spawned trends in everything from food and drink to fashion.
Many are willing to spend what little money they have on brands that they find compelling in this space. There can be little doubt that this unique generation is already changing our business and economic landscape.
City firms struggle to recruit and retain millennial employees, who are less enamoured by the traditional graduate scheme than those that came before them.
Employers must adapt their practices and their values if they're going to survive.
The fact that Goldman Sachs is investing time and money in figuring out what makes these kids tick, tells you all you need to know.