Strategic Implications: Generations: Now and Next 2024-2025

product design
health & wellness
category - ai
category - entertainment
category - fashion
sector - food & drink
type - need to know
Need To Know
category - age
sector - beauty
category - design
category - devices
category - luxury
category - mobility
category - sustainability
sector - health & wellness
sector - media & technology
sector - youth
sector - luxury

Right now, brands and businesses have five generations of proactive and influential consumers, who are diverse, global and have different expectations. Rachele Simms, the director of strategy and planning at The Future Laboratory, examines the key strategic take-outs from our new consumer report, Generations: Now and Next 2024–2025.

Over the next decade, several forces will begin to change the construct of the global population, contributing to major social and cultural shifts that will affect the demographics of tomorrow.

Evolving Demographics is one of the macro-environmental forces of change that we’ve been tracking for many years here at The Future Laboratory; and one of six Global Drivers that form the foundation of our Strategic Foresight Methodology.

One pervasive tension driving this is global birth rates, with ample articles and stats being published about population degrowth. Among these latest articles, The Wall Street Journal piece entitled Suddenly There Aren’t Enough Babies. The Whole World Is Alarmed, documents how ‘the world is at a startling demographic milestone’. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, an economist specialising in demographics at the University of Pennsylvania, goes on to say: ‘The demographic winter is coming.’ Over the coming decade, declining fertility and birth rates will have far reaching implications for the planet and the way we live, and therefore for future business outlook and growth.

Our Evolving Demographics driver also reveals other key shifts that brands and businesses need to consider to grow and adapt today. Beyond an obsession with knowing Gen Z, ageing populations and evolving notions of gender, sexuality and family are changing the fabric of society, and will have more immediate economic, and therefore commercial, consequences.

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24 June 2024

Author: Rachele Simms

Image: Norma Mortenson


Cottonbro Studio

At the intersection of our other five long-range Global Drivers – Accelerating Technologies, Climate Crisis and Resource Scarcity, Fragmenting Societies, Micro-globalisation and an Urbanising World – concepts of identity, belonging and success are changing as people embrace new definitions of self-actualisation and singularity, new forms of kinship and community, and new work patterns while prioritising living both longer and better.

To capture this, in our Generations: Now and Next 2024–2025 report the LS:N Global team take an in-depth look at the key generational demographics of today and their evolving attitudes to key sectors spanning technology, work, finance, education, sustainability, and health and wellness over the next 3–5 years.

How can you capture the real differences defining and driving each generation? As part of our Strategic Foresight Methodology, we know that our fundamental human needs – part of humanity’s essential physical and emotional programming – are prioritised, expressed and pursued differently at different times and in different cultures to reflect the contemporary world we live in. Importantly, to understand differences or compare generations today, we too need legacies, and to backcast the worlds and context in which people have already lived.

This new report, aside from being an excellent reference for generational insight focused on North America, Europe and Australia – updated every 18 months – is a tool for understanding new models of ageing.

‘In many ways, this is a report about ageing, no matter the age group. It is a demand for an imminent re-assessment of what later life is and how it is referred to. This is also powering new perspectives, particularly around the adoption of Flat Age mindsets and a much-needed focus on a new set of life stage markers,’
Fiona Harkin, director of foresight at The Future Laboratory.
Faces of Travel by Delta and Adobe, US

Right now, brands and businesses have five generations of proactive and influential consumers, who are diverse and global, and all with different expectations. This report delves into what unites and divides them.

Let’s look at some of the strategic insights and implications from the report:

Boomers: [Born 1946–1964] From Ageing to Becoming. The legacy of this dynamic generation will not only influence their own ageing journey but also set precedents for future generations.

Trends to watch: AI-ging and Grandpeers and Brandparents.

The combination of spending power and influence over younger generations is giving rise to Brandparents. How can brands better match the values of these gatekeepers to create successful products and services for younger generations?

Gen X: [Born 1965–1980] From Ambiguity to Advocacy. Seen as a forgotten generation, sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Millennials, Gen X play a key role as translators between the pre- and post-digital eras.

Trends to watch: Worktirees and Middlescence.

According to Annie Auerbach, co-founder of cultural research studio Starling, and author of Flex: Reinventing Work for a Smarter, Happier Life, ‘Gen X will have to not just work longer but work smarter – that might be incorporating sabbaticals along the way, retraining and upskilling, and also pauses to find meaning in their work’. Find ways in which your brand can support Gen Xers through their Middlescence quest of wellbeing, discovery, growth and re-invention, empowering their constant evolution.

Karolina Grabowska
Jack Sparrow

Millennials: [Born 1981–1996] From Pink to Prime. After a stuttering start to their adult lives, the first generation to use the internet as children are hitting their prime earning years while rebelling against traditional nominated life paths.

Trends to watch: Neo-hedonist Spenders and Reconstructed Families.

Embrace divergent life choices by better recognising that Millennials are not a monolith going through the same nominated paths. Brands will need to find ways to focus on purpose and changing life choices, no matter what the life stage.

Gen Z: [Born 1997–2012] From Vision to Contradiction. Gen Z are stepping into adulthood carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Without the tools or role models to help them enact the change they want to see, they find themselves paralysed by paradox.

Trends to watch: The Z-Suite and Eco-ducation.

Foster communities of like-mindedness to provide collective support and promote interpersonal interaction. Alleviate Gen Z’s information overload by keeping brand communications simple and using subversive humour to provide a welcome break from what they view as the current doom and gloom.

Mikhail Nilov
Julia M Cameron

Gen Alpha: [Born 2013–2025] From the Sandbox to Roblox. Armed with a tech-native understanding of the world, for them life without social media, smartphones and streaming services is hard to picture.

Trends to watch: Cyber-curriculums and Elongated Childhood.

Alphas are growing up on a steady diet of Roblox and Minecraft. Gamify your brand offering, loyalty system and marketing to capture the attention of these tech-native tweens.

Our report breaks down demographic barriers and helps brands explore conversations with consumers around a new set of life markers.

Our team of strategists are using our latest Generations: Now and Next 2024–2025 research to help brands understand their evolving audiences and shape their future strategic planning, propositions, marketing initiatives and new product development. 

Contact us to learn how our Strategic Advisory department can help you to translate this macrotrend into practical strategies for your business.


Struggling to stay ahead in an uncertain world?
We can help.

The Future Laboratory’s Strategy team works directly with global brands and businesses to turn our LS:N Global foresight into a strategic decision-making tool that aligns clients’ current business objectives with these future scenarios.