Webinar: Intergenerational Conflict

Trends Briefing: 26th November| 9am-10am | Register here

Intergenerational conflict elicits images of fighting, but we’ve never seen it that way. More often than not, generational cohorts are not actively trying to disenfranchise each other; this just happens as a by-product of individuals doing their best for themselves and their families.

It’s less an intergenerational conflict, and more an intergenerational conflict of interest.

Covid-19 has had vastly different consequences across generational groups. The virus poses a far greater threat to the health and wellbeing of older generations, with younger and working age generations negatively affected by the closures of schools, universities and workplaces. Crucially, such a vast divergence in experience of the pandemic is likely to see the generations become receptive to increasingly different messaging, making it more difficult for brands to speak to a ‘big tent’ of consumers.

Prior to the pandemic, the future of intergenerational conflict was predicated by concerns about the cost of caring for an ageing population and about managing the dependency ratio. These issues remain, but the financial burden on the working-age populations of the future is likely to be significantly exacerbated by the significant borrowing undertaken by the government in order to stabilise the economy during the pandemic; a debt that Rishi Sunak admits will fall on younger generations to repay. This will shape younger consumers for decades, with higher rates of tax compromising disposable incomes and the ability to save in the working age population.

The burden on younger generations is set to grow, but the democratic deficit will remain for decades, with the very real possibility that older generations continue to vote and think very differently of the generation that supports them.

Will we see the intergenerational conflict of interest intensify?

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