We live in a fast paced, consumeristic society. Today a person’s perceived value is defined by the kind of brands they wear, the high-end gadgets they use, the amount of disposable money they have to spend, the car or bike they drive in or even the number of ‘Like’s’ one gets on social media network. Everyone wants to live a luxurious life be it an adult or a child. They feel that if they do not possess all these ‘cool stuff’, then it will affect their image in school/college or among their friends.
So what “qualifies” as luxurious lifestyle for students? How do they classify someone as living the “high life”? What are their objects of desire? Let’s find out.
The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) conducted a sample survey-based to study the attitude of India’s young population between the ages of 15 – 34. One of the attributes that was surveyed was about Lifestyle and habits. Some interesting facts that emerged were as follows:
- The youth are very conscious about how they look.
- 61% mentioned that they were fond of wearing stylish clothes
- 58% were fond of wearing stylish footwear
- 59% wanted to possess the latest mobile phones
- 41% had a high to moderate fondness for buying expensive perfumes and deodorants
- 39% used fairness creams a lot
- 36% visited beauty parlours to a high or moderate degree
- 33% watched movies in a cinema hall once a week or at least once a month
- 30% visited a restaurant or café
- 28% visit the shopping malls regularly
- Overall 19% of the youth were found to be highly style conscious, with youth between the ages of 18-21 being the most style conscious
- The urban youth were found doing these activities more when compared to their rural counterparts
- The study also showed that there was a connection between the youth’s style statements and the frequency with which they went out. Similarly, youth who visited restaurants often were more style conscious that the ones who did not go out that often
All these seem to indicate that the children of today probably define luxury based on a certain set of parameters. Some of them include:
- Wearing branded and fashionable clothes, footwear and personal hygiene products: The Internet and Television has opened up a world of possibilities to the children. Gone are the days when kids were happy with whatever clothes their parents picked up for them. Television, Pinterest and Instagram are full of photos of cool, trendy kids wearing branded clothes. In fact, some kids are already being labelled as fashion bloggers! So it’s only natural that children’s choices are getting more and more refined and they now value their self-worth by the brand and type of clothes they wear. One of the factors that ‘define’ luxury to them is wearing expensive, branded clothes and footwear, even if it means that their parents may have to shell out a considerable amount for their clothes. Awareness about personal grooming is also very high and it’s not surprising to find children splurging on expensive perfumes and personal hygiene products.
- Using expensive mobile phones and other gadgets: There was a time when possessing a cell phone of any brand was seen as a matter of pride. But this is not so any more. It is now not uncommon to see a child deeply engrossed with the latest Smartphone or Tablet. In fact parents are also giving into their demands for the same. Children of today demand and expect expensive gifts such as the IPhone, gaming software, watches and/or high end laptops. To be seen with the latest gadget is viewed as a matter of pride and prestige.
- Designer houses: Where and how one lives has also become a ‘lifestyle statement’ for kids. It is no longer enough to stay in an independent house or a big apartment but, where you stay also matters. Having a house in a posh locality or a gated community is considered luxurious. And how the house is styled is also matters. Branded wardrobes, branded fittings and appliances and homes designed by famous interior designers are what everyone aspires for.
- Expensive cars and vehicles: Owning an expensive car or bike is a lifestyle statement that every child aspires for. Children tend to think that owning an expensive car improves their status and is a must for impressing their friends.
- Going to fancy restaurants, cafes or gaming zones. As the survey indicated, kids of today are regular visitors to their favourite restaurants or cafes. Most of them are aware of the various cuisines and visiting fancy restaurants are seen as a “cool” and “hep” thing to do.
Many young children, especially teens look forward to a luxurious lifestyle for a variety of reasons. It could be for the need to “fit in”, to impress their peers or the opposite sex, to look “cool, to project an image of “coolness”, to feel accepted or to show off on social media etc. The reasons could be many. It is the job of parents to teach their kids to be well rounded personalities who have a balanced view about life and grow up feeling satisfied with their life choices, goals and achievements.