This study aims to determine the relations between particular factors affecting the young consumer behaviour, and to identify the models of consumption and preferences of generation Y, and consequently to indicate the importance of education a crucial instrument for young people’s socialization. The scope of research comprises young consumers from generation Y in selected countries around the world, with particular focus on the students of economy faculties at the universities in Poland and Croatia. The cognitive evaluation of factors affecting the young consumer behaviour in the consumption processes made it possible to obtain original research results, allowing to select the most important factors and preferences affecting the purchasing decisions of generation Y. The empirical research conducted by the authors of this study proves that for many young people, price, quality and brand are still very important, but the environmental and social issues are more and more acknowledged. This indicates that the consumption among the young does not reveal only hedonistic aspects, but also features the economic and environmental aspects.