Millennials Are Thrifty For Themselves, But Choose Quality Over Cost for Kids

During the past 18 months, youth marketing agency Fuse observed the increased importance that Millennials are placing on knowing the "politics" of the brands they buy. In addition to its history, product attributes, and community involvement, young consumers want to understand where a brand stands on political issues, making politics a new factor in a brand's DNA.

The firm's consumer study this month produced some surprising results and indicate Millennials and older Gen Z consider a brand's politics as more than just a simple litmus test to determine what to buy.

Recently, there have been multiple examples of brands intentionally (and some unintentionally) becoming involved in the political discourse. One such instance included ride-sharing brands Uber and Lyft. It's among the most notable examples because Lyft seized on the opportunity to differentiate its brand from Uber, calling the President's recent executive order, "...antithetical to both Lyft's and our nation's core values" and promised a donation of $1,000,000 to the ACLU. To read more about Uber and Lyft's PR battle, see The Atlantic.

In our study, three key themes emerged relevant to brands and politics:
  • In sharp contrast to our surveys one year ago, this month's study indicated that the top 3 issues on which brands should take a political position were climate change, women's rights, and immigration. Our surveys in early 2016 indicated young people overwhelmingly thought that companies should take positions only on political issues that directly related to their business, such as minimum wage, family leave, and the economy.
  • Nearly 65 percent of teens and young adults said knowing a company's position on political issues was important to them. A third of those consumers said it was "very important."
  • But less than 50 percent of those consumers indicated that a brand's political position would impact their purchase decisions. Some consumers described the importance of knowing a brand's politics as "preparation" which allowed them to defend their decision, if necessary, in buying certain products.
Impact of Millennials as parents
We are often asked by marketers about Millennial parents and a strategy to reach them that may differ now that children play such an important role in their lives.

Our consumer study this month began to explore the make-up of the Millennial family, what the segment may look like in a decade, and the key values of Millennial parents.

To set the stage, there are 75 million Millennials (Pew). According to the US Census, about 25 percent (or about 18 million) of Millennials have children. Millennials are rapidly becoming the face of the young American family.
The highlights of our study this month included the following findings about Millennial parents:
  • Nearly 75 percent -- or 56 million -- plan to have children over the next 10 years.
  • When it comes to child-rearing, Millennial parents describe themselves as "available" and "hands-on."
  • Millennial parents are deal-seekers and thrifty when shopping for themselves, but choose quality over cost when it comes to making purchases for their kids.
  • Among the consumer segments most impacted by "influencers" are Millennial parents, with nearly 70 percent saying their purchase decisions are primarily based recommendations from friends, family, and strangers they believe to have expertise and credibility.
Facebook continues its upward trend among teens
A study released last month by the UBS Evidence Lab indicates that Facebook usage among teens is up by a 6 percent increase -- from 59 percent to 65 percent -- since 2014. Their findings contrast with much of the recent media coverage about young people's love of Snapchat and Instagram.

Like the USB study, our consumer survey this month on Gen Z 's social media habits are indicating a slow, but steady upward trend for Facebook.

The highlights of the study included:
  • The number of brands teens are fans of on Facebook is up about 5 percent since last year.
  • The percentage of teens who are on Facebook "multiple times per day" is up to 65 percent from 60 percent only 6 months ago.
  • A 5 percent increase in how often teens are liking, commenting, and sharing content in comparison to the times they log on to Facebook but are not engaged with content
For brand Facebook pages that are not seeing the positive impacts of these trends, we recommend taking the following steps to increase engagement among teens and Millennials:
  • Content: take inspiration from the most successful content you've posted previously.
  • Photos: over a 3-month period, BuzzSumo analyzed over 100 million Facebook posts and found that posts with photos had engagement rates almost 2.5 times higher than posts without.
  • Video: Facebook appears to favor its native video app over YouTube, so using the native app (instead of a YouTube link) should increase comments, shares, and reach.
  • Community Management: shorten your posts, reply to customers, and use a call to action each time.
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