The Millennial generation has become the largest and wealthiest demographic on the planet, and it is forecast to represent an increasingly dominant global consumer force for many years to come. The spending power of Millennials converging with technological change of, arguably, unprecedented scale and velocity represents a considerable source of continued industrial disruption.
Millennials are ‘digital natives’; they have grown up during, and embraced, an era of huge technological innovation. This has facilitated the evolution of new companies and business models that reflect the lifestyle preferences of this generation: the sharing economy, digital platforms, and social media, for instance. In emerging markets, the combination of technology with rising wealth has led to a generation with a very different, increasingly global and aspirational outlook compared to their parents.
All these differences from previous demographic cohorts represent significant opportunities for companies who can innovate, or quickly adapt, to benefit from the spending power of Millennials. Equally, they represent a considerable threat to companies that cannot.
The focus of Millennial spending will evolve over time. As the generation matures, priorities will change: the hedonistic life-style of the single Millennial will give way to the responsibilities that come with having a family, and then to the financial and health care pressures of an increasingly extended life. At every stage in this life cycle, technology is likely to exercise a greater influence than ever before; it will spawn new companies, business models and opportunities that are likely to transform industry and society from what we know today.
The Goldman Sachs Global Millennials Equity Portfolio seeks to invest in companies that are benefitting from the impact of Millennial spending today, as well as those companies that are well positioned for the changing patterns of the Millennial spending in the future – whatever that will look like.