Those who reached their teens in the late Eighties and early Nineties came to be known as Generation X, a label apparently invented by novelist Doug Coupland (himself of that generation) which expressed the public's mystification about their music, casual drug use, political apathy, cynicism about work, and taste in clothing. With the increased spending power of teens in the affluent Eighties--they could spend a staggering $45 billion per year on nonessential items--major industries, such as clothing, cosmetics, music, automobiles, and sports, fastened their attentions on the teen market with greedy enthusiasm, hiring marketers to poll them endlessly to determine their tastes and habits. Teen Research Unlimited of Northbrook, Illinois, established in 1982, was only one of the agencies devoted to polling teens. The resulting masses of figures are contradictory and difficult to put into context, but they are also often interesting and sometimes surprising.
The decade opened with an event that shocked and saddened America's young people, as well as their parents who had grown up in the Sixties. In December 1980 Beatle John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment by Mark David Chapman. Lennon had spoken out strongly against the Vietnam War, but he had settled into a pleasant life with his artist wife, Yoko Ono. In fact, they had just released a joint album when he was killed. Chapman, who evidently had been stalking Lennon for some time, quoted from J. D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye at his murder