Putting the Gen-Y in inGENuitY

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As the most analyzed American generation to date, Baby Boomers seem to get all of the love. It’s a generation that is treasured within our American history. Although born in 1982, I feel like I have lived since the 60’s, as there seems to be no limits to the documentaries, books, TV specials and VH1 Behind the Music episodes.   Rest assured though, at some point soon, Gen Y will be in the spotlight.  In many peoples’ minds Gen Y, Millennials, Echo Boomers or whatever else you want to call us, is a generation full of 9th place trophy holding, Facebook posting, Angry Birds slinging, young adults. While this may be true, we are also a generation who witnessed September 11th, helped fight in two wars and lived through the greatest recession since the great depression. Perhaps more importantly, no other generation has seen technology progress faster. With all of that experience in such formative years, a new perspective is born.  In an effort to harness this perspective, JLL Retail has formed a new committee, appropriately titled inGENuitY.

Bucking another Gen Y trend, job-hopping, I’ve been fortunate enough to be with JLL in some capacity or another since graduating college in 2005. Over my last seven years, I, along with my other contemporary young real estate professionals, have witnessed the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in commercial real estate. Even through the toughest times, JLL has done a good job of focusing on its young talent. inGENuitY was created to utilize that talent and garner a new perspective from a generation with over $200 billion in spending power which is expected to exceed the Baby Boomers in 2017.

It’s no secret that Gen Y is a very different consumer than the rest of the buying pool, considering that a large portion of us have never even considered making a substantial purchase without checking Amazon or Ebay first. Although us Millennials love to shop online, we also have the same desire as every other warm blooded American to get out from behind the computer and shop in stores. That being said, our expectations around physically shopping are often different than prior generations.  A sales associate should be able to price match a product I’ve found on my iPhone at a lower price.  I mean, it’s the exact same product.  The additional overhead of running a brick and mortar store is not my concern.  Retailers need to offer their shoppers something tangible that you can’t get from the internet to encourage buying, not just shopping.  I was recently in a running shoe store that did just that. Using video gait and foot strike analysis on a treadmill, they were able to determine the best option in footwear for my running needs.   For all I know, this demonstration could have just been a ruse, but what I do know is that I ended up walking out of the store with a $100 pair of Nikes and no remorse that I didn’t check Zappos.com first.

Although we cannot promise to solve all the challenges posed by internet shopping, inGENuitY will strive to help bring JLL Retail a fresh perspective on the business of shopping from the eyes of a Gen Y’er.  We hope that through this perspective of digital natives, we will better connect our shopping centers, malls, and even our own company, to a new generation.  We may not be the most significant generation (yet) but we are certainly a group worth paying attention to.

To learn about how new technology in e-commerce and mobile commerce are influencing consumers – and as a result forcing more change in the world of retail, click here to read our white paper on Digital Dynamics

Brett Horowitz
Jones Lang LaSalle
tel +1(404) 995-6492

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