Today, all generations are exposed to the same disruptive forces of globalization, innovation, technology and the social media revolution, causing a melding of attitudes and behavior. Consequently, not all commonly held beliefs about generations are true, and clinging to stereotypical views about each age group can limit an organization’s profitability and growth. This issue highlights the importance of a nuanced approach to segmentation that looks beyond age groups and at individuals’ expressed attitudes toward shopping and their self-reported actions.
Deloitte’s recent study, ‘Millennials and beyond: Brand growth through a cross-generational approach to consumer profiling,’ illustrates how companies can help capture revenue from consumer segments that were previously untargeted. Through advanced statistical analysis on attitude statements addressing consumers’ shopping behavior, channel preferences and attitudes toward innovation, brand, convenience, health and wellness, and technology - the study arrived at four characteristic segments that consumer products companies would benefit from being mindful of for inclusive brand growth.
Based on the survey findings and learnings from cross-generational segmentation (see attachement), four common myths were identified where companies could reconsider their technology strategies.
CHANNEL PREFERENCE FOR SHOPPING:
Myth: Generation Z predominantly shops online
The mix of in-store and online shopping sways in favor of shopping in physical stores for all age groups, including Generation Z, despite this generation being brought up in the digital era.
The nuanced consumer segmentation revealed that it is the Aspirationalists who have the greatest propensity to shop online for consumer products. While this segment tends to be comprised of younger people, it also includes a sizeable 28% of like-minded older consumers.
Thus, targeting Aspirationalists attitudes presents a potentially more profitable target for online retailers than simply Generation Z consumers.
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PROMOTIONS:
Myth: Traditional advertising channels do not appeal to younger generations. Social media is the best way to reach them
Appeal for traditional media channels of TV and print is alive and well: The study revealed that more Aspirationalists – a relatively younger group – enjoy watching advertisements on TV than the older Pragmatists and Discerning Achievers. Most Aspirationalists also claimed that newspaper and TV make them aware of products they want to buy, dispelling the commonly held notion that social media is the only way to reach younger generations.
Thus, despite the rapid rise and predominance of social media, traditional media remains a popular channel to engage with younger consumers.
Myth: Older generations do not use social media
Per the study, almost all consumers have exposure to a minimum of one social media platform at least once a day. More than 7 in 10 consumers in each segment engage on Facebook, while YouTube is the second most-popular social media destination. The older Discerning Achievers were found to be very involved with social media, but use it differently than younger segments.
Differing from Aspirationalists and Responsible Go-Getters, Discerning Achievers generally do not generate content on social media but use it primarily to read reviews and product ratings before purchasing products.
BRAND GROWTH USING EMERGING TECH:
Myth: Innovation and brand growth are only fueled by younger generations
In the immediate future, it is the older Discerning Achievers with higher buying power who can drive brand growth. Their interest in emerging technologies was found to closely follow Aspirationalists and Responsible Go-Getters. Specifically, they exhibited a considerably high level of interest in innovations such as customized products and smart packaging.
Based on their behavior and higher income levels, the older Discerning Achievers are also a practical target for innovation and brand growth.
By considering questions related to understanding current buyer segmentation, and then defining potential target consumers in terms of both age cohorts and consumer attitudes, consumer product companies can find more success through thoughtful targeting and developing their own proprietary segmentation schemes.
-Curt Fedder, Consumer Products Research Team Leader | Center for Industry Insights, Deloitte Services, LLP.