Imagine this happened to you when you were in your early 20s:
You quit your job or studies. You travel to some of the world’s most exotic places — from Marrakesh to the Maldives.
But you weren’t backpacking, oh no. Forget roughing it out like some cash-strapped uni student.
Instead, you live in absolute luxury.
Entire days spent lazing around in crystal coastal waters, drinking champagne on super yachts and hiking across breathtaking mountain ranges.
Oh, and all your hotel stays were free — meals included.
Sounds pretty good, right?
Of course it does.
But you’re probably thinking: ‘How on Earth would this be possible?’
Or: ‘This sounds great but it wouldn’t have been sustainable or led to a particularly successful career. In fact, I probably would’ve ended up a spoilt brat!’
Granted, the uphill career battles and financial lessons most of us learn in our early 20s are important. They’re invaluable seasons of life.
But, in today’s new digital economy, such a globetrotting life I’ve described is not only possible. It’s a full-blown, lucrative career.
It’s all due to the power of the Insta-economy.
A select group of young influencers selling the dream to their fellow millennials one snap at a time.
Let me explain…
A digital business revolution
Instagram, the world’s biggest image-sharing app has influencers in almost every industry — from fashion and beauty to travel and extreme sports.
These ‘influencers’ recommend the hottest brands and start-ups to a wide pool of followers.
And let me tell you, these followers drink up an Instagram icon’s every picture like it’s the last drop of water on Earth.
In return, these influencers get paid big money from the brands they promote.
Just for snapping away with their smartphone and posting it in an instant (actually a lot more thought goes into these pictures than that, but you get the gist).
In business, we use the term, ‘Thought Leaders’.
Well, in the world of consumerism, influencers are ‘Brand Leaders’.
Their opinions are powerful, surprisingly fickle — forget old ideas like brand loyalty — and spread like wildfire. Thanks in large part to Instagram and other social media.
Most of these influencers are Millennials — people born in between 1981 and 1996, roughly — and the only people to be born in history as complete digital natives.
This is normal to them.
They’re also known as Gen-Yers, or to people stuck in traditional business behaviours: pains in the you-know-what!
But it’s undeniable that they’re propelling a digital business revolution.
And not only are they changing buying behaviours, they’re changing the entire economy.
Such is the emerging economic power of this demographic; the best investors need to keep shape or ship out!
The global growth of this bold new workforce
Millennials are finally set to overtake Baby Boomers (their parents’ generation) in population this year.
There are now 2.3 billion Millennials and they represent about a third of the world’s buying population.
But by 2025, it’s predicted they’ll make up 75% of the world’s workforce as baby boomers retire.
In India alone, Millennials are the chief wage earners with a 47% share in the working age population.
And what about our home-grown Aussie youngsters?
Well our media likes to rave on about lazy Gen Y students who fritter their disposable income away on avocado brunches while wilfully neglecting the Aussie dream of home ownership.
But while Millennials may not be as wealthy (or economically lucky depending on your viewpoint) as the previous generation, they’re fast becoming Australia’s most influential in terms of purchasing power.
This is obvious.
The president of beauty and personal care titan Unilever Alan Jope has said, ‘We don’t think of them [Millennials] as special or different any more. They are the core of our business.’
But Millennials aren’t just consumers. They’re also producers. The new titans of business.
Millennials currently hold about 20% of all leadership roles and this is set to grow fast.
One famous example is none other than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (whose net worth jumped $6 billion in a day last month.)
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, as an investor, you need to start tuning in with this generation.
It might even be time to get yourself an Instagram account…
Contributing Editor, Money Morning
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