To what extent is the consumer behaviour of millennials different to that of Previous Generations (Gen X and Baby Boomers) in the entertainment.

Richa Panthi Student id 16633137


Every generation has its own distinctive personalities and attitudes, values and quirks differentiate one peer group from another. Baby Boomers, which reflect the age group of 1946s-1964s whom we also address as Boomers. Furthermore, those born between 1965s-1976s are known as Generation X as well as Xers (Fromm and Garton, 2013 p. 01). Identically, Millennials also known as Generation Y or Gen Y are considered to be born in a particular time frame. However, there is no precise date when the generation starts and ends. Researchers have considered the dates ranging between 1977s-1995s. Moreover, Millennials were born into a technological, electronic and wireless society which gives them privilege to experience all the new things in entertainment, including for example playstations, new gadgets and I pods, which, the previous generation could not. In May 2013 Time published a cover story titled "Millennials :The Me Me Me Generation” by Joel Stein.

To begin with Consumer Behaviour… ‘It is the thoughts and feelings customer experience in performing any consumption process’ which could be product or service (Peter and Olson, 2005, p. 05). Consumer behavior involves exchanges, interactions, and is dynamic. Consumer behaviour differs person to person, and here this essay will discuss the behaviour of three different generations as well as the theory observational learning applied in the entertainment.

Entertainment is wide ranging, and covers topics such as television, smart phone games and the digital media world.. Banerjee and Das claims, that Millennials are a quite different from Gen X as their source of entertainment is very much based on technology and gadgets for instance playing online games, watching streaming TV, and listening to music (Banerjee and Das p.36). The purpose of this essay is to describe the observational learning and how it is implemented in the consumer behaviour of Gen Y as compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers in the entertainment sector. The essay will firstly analyse television industry and the digital playing.



To begin with, for Baby boomers television was a family activity where all the family members used to sit together and watch their favourite programmes as Ritchie suggests in 1995, programmes were designed in such a way, where they used to entertain adults as well as children were equally important. Furthermore, Walt Disney was the first person to acknowledge the animation market, as can be seen from a popular TV programme like the Mickey Mouse Club was the first animated programme (Ritchie, 1995, p. 64-65). However, football was the most popular game in America with maximum male viewers, with consideration ABC had convinced the National Football League to play few games at night so, they could broadcast on prime time (Ritchie, 1995, p. 91). Consequently, with the rapid growth of television, programmes were organized targeting the mass audiences for instance- Monday nights for men, Saturday nights for youths and mornings for children (cartoons) (Ritchie, 1995, p. 93). On the other hand, the Xers generation grew up infront of the Tv (Marinucci, 2005, p. 506). In addition Ritchie in (1995, p. 86) suggests, the television has changed its entertainment vision and expanded to be their source of information where they learned about music, movies, tv programmes, talk shows and tend to be their entertainment as well as teacher. Considering all the points, they even started watching television alone which was opposite to Boomers (Ritchie, 1995, p. 86). Conversely, Millennials had the privilege to watch live and recorded shows, in essence to watch their favourite programme as a cable is not required because technology has developed and they can go online and watch their shows anywhere at anytime (Fromm and Garton, 2016)

"Increase in TV sets from 1960- 1990" (Ritchie, 1995)

Further, the TV viewing habits of Millennials are different from Gen X and Boomers because as the observational learning (Solomon, 1993, P. 118) explains, consumer observes the behaviour of their role models and peers, and millennials have got the huge advantage of the internet where they do not have to rely on the broadcast service rather, the availability is full time because of the internet. Therefore, everybody in the group are enjoying the benefits of it and making the best use of time. On the whole many millennials are cutting the cable lines and cancelling their pay- Tv subscriptions (Thibeault, 2015), as they found it expensive but Xers in their young age could not do so. In the mean time, Thibeault in (2015) suggests, millennials are more likely to watch online videos on mobile devices or smart phones, as they can notice everybody around them are doing so. Furthermore, popularity of personal computers has been increased for watching online videos as, “the consumers are motivated to perform these actions” (Solomon, 1993, p.118). Altogether, millennials are influenced with their surrounding and behave in the same way as their role model behaves. To summarize, options of entertainment have increased so, TV is no more a necessity. There has been a rapid growth in a mobile TV viewers from 1.1m in 2007 to 1.9 in 2008 (Mceleny, 2009).

New, videos watching method

However Bazilian in (2015) argues with the fact that, not only millennials even Xers are equally spending same amount of time watching online programmes. Moreover, Tice at (2012) claims, Gen X and Gen Y both the generations prefer tablets to watch full TV episodes, game playing and reading ebooks as it is a major source of entertainment. In addition, Boomers (ages 47-54) can also be seen to get influenced by their youngsters and even they have started using smart phone devices for their entertainment. According to White in (2009) there is a decrease by the rate of five percent in the regular TV watching method of Boomers from the previous year. In essence, there is a huge impact of online videos amidst Boomers and they are ready to surrender their television set if required (White, 2009). The theory of observational learning can be seen in Boomers as well where the role models are their young ones and they are learning from them. Finally, Gen Y shares a good bond with their parents (Gen X and Boomers) and they reside with them (Vejar, 2015), which helps Boomers to notice them closely and learn from them.

online video
online video watching methods
Online games and digital games
Digital gaming

According to Ritchie in 1995 Xers were much delighted by the first electronic games, which they experienced on the computer monitor and television screen before they could leave their primary school. Moreover, Xers at their young age, with no knowledge of electronic games and gadgets became fascinated by it and were not concerned about the price range as well (Ritchie, 1995, p.114). Eventually, after the evolution of the game industry, since 1990s it has succeeded to expand and develop new products (Nielsan, Smith and Tosca, 2013, p.19). Thereafter, Xers could observe everybody around them in their friend circle were fantasized by the first electronic game and it motivated them to learn more about it. Comparatively, Mobile phones, laptops, gadgets and internet are Millennial generation (Malikhao and Servaes, 2010, p.68). Millennials are also called “digital natives” (Stewart, 2015, p. 04). Mobile phones with smart technological features, gives multi-tasking ability and are much admired by the youth. As Solomon claims in (1993, p. 117), in observational theory, consumers go for the product which they find attractive, more proficient and should match or upgrade their status, similarly Xers in their young age were inspired by their circle to acknowledge more about the computer games. In the same way, millennials found online games and the digital games appealing. Therefore, upgrades their standards in cohort and where they can compete with others. Furthermore, with the support of the internet, the entertainment has come to the another level such as online gaming. Online games/digital games are the advance version of video games which can be played on smart phones, tablets or handheld computers (Banerjee and Das, 2015). However, few reasons about the youth interested in smart phone gamings are they love challenges and they want to compete globally (Banerjee and Das p.38) aesthetic factors includes curiosity, new challenges, fantasies and social interactions. In addition, they find it more entertaining, convenient and they can escape to a world of virtual reality (Banerjee and Das p.39).

mobile games

Alternatively, Video games are a big family entertainment nowdays. White, in (2004) suggests, 29 years old people are the average player of video games, and parents as well as grand parents are playing with them. In other words, even parents besides their children, grew up with the video games and announced it as a family entertainment White, (2004). Therefore, because of the increasing popularity of electronic games many technology companies for instance Microsoft, Sony are competiting with each other (Farrell, 2016), and introducing more advanced games such as Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 as they have discovered it a good source of the entertainment for family occasions (Mceleny, 2009).

Considering online games or video games as a family entertainment, it has even got some negative effects. Wichian and Sanwong, 2010 argues, because of the drastic increase in online games in all over the world for instance- Thailand, Australia, Durkin. The kids have started loosing their interest in studies and are addicted to the online games and online gambling (Wichian and Sanwong, 2010) and some of them have even forgot to appear the exam. Consequently, the increasing demand of such games has become hard to manage (Wichian and Sanwong, 2010).

Growth in online games


As a whole, the meaning of entertainment for millennials is quite different compared to “Baby Boomers”and “Xers”. However, the theory of observation learning is applicable for all the three generations, for instance: millennials observe the behaviour of their peers, watch television and learn new method of watching programmes through mobile phones, I pad and seem to neglect the traditional TV watching method. Similarly, Boomers and Xers observe the behaviour of the younger generation and learn from them. As can be seen, even they are inspired to watch online videos. Consequently, there has been increase in the growth rate of mobile Tv vieweing (Mceleny).

Secondly, gaming methods on the internet has taken over and technology has become more advanced where Boomers and Xers are enjoying smart phone games with their children or “Millennials”. All three generations enjoy smart phone gaming together. However, some negative effects of gaming have been discussed, where children have become addicted to online games, and tend to loose their interest for studies (Wichian and Sanwong, 2010).

In my point of view, consumer behaviour of millennials in entertainment such as television and electronic gaming has changed because they are more tech savvy, and this may have lead to addiction. Although, it is good to have knowledge of the latest trends, limits should be set and other activities should also be included.

"Game addiction"

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