Do not write off Gen-Y

Generation Y is often painted as a bunch of over-educated, binge-drinking technology junkies who lack life experience.

Not so, a new report out today says. After surveying 1223 young New Zealanders, market researchers Colmar Brunton found diversity was the one thing Gen-Yers had in common.

In fact, six "tribes" were uncovered - from the fickle "spontaneous spenders" who tended to call in sick when hungover, to the career-minded "ladder climbers", who were as likely to buy branded clothing as they were a cheap bottle of wine.

The "tribes" emerged after the Gen-Yers were asked about their aspirations, goals, spending and media habits.

Other tribes were "idealists", "solitary savers", "family focused" and "money equals status".

The spread was relatively even across the spectrum - idealists were the biggest tribe, at 21 per cent; spontaneous spenders the smallest, at 14 per cent.

While you couldn't be in more than one tribe at once, the dynamic nature of life between the ages of 15 and 30 meant someone might begin as a "ladder climber" but morph into a "family focused", said youth specialist Spencer Willis, who conducted the study.

The insights could be of great value to marketers, who could more effectively target groups based on their likely life choices than their demographic, he said.

For example, "spontaneous spenders", who were the primary media consumers, may be better targeted on television and social media than the" idealists" who were getting sick of Facebook and less likely to have an iPhone.

All six groups were far removed from the homogenous, monolithic entity Gen-Y often seemed to be. Headlines in the past week have included Gen-Y-ers who have set their friends alight and killed their peers in brawls.

But there are also those who have rescued schoolgirls from flooded rivers.

Art gallery host Briar Holt, 23, has experienced the lack of faith the public have in Gen-Y.

"At work, I am always asked by haughty, usually middle-class, middle-aged visitors if they could speak to my manager," she said.

"Or I'll find visitors look at me then go and talk to another host who is older, even though I am equally, if not more, experienced in my job. Just because I'm young doesn't mean I'm stupid."

The Dominion Post