Attracting Younger Generations

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Attracting Younger Generations

Over the past decade or so, there has been a shift in consumer preferences. Baby Boomers and their Generation X children have dominated the market for the past several decades, but now Generation Y is coming in full force. All Members of the industry need to be aware of the changing marketplace to remain successful. Todays young consumers have different qualities than those of their parents and grandparents. Some major differences are that Generation Y consumers are generally better off financially than the Boomers, they have less free time on their hands and are more interested in instant gratification. This can mean great things for your business: Generation Y is Spending more money on new products and services tat weren’t around or popular before. What Makes Them Different? One characteristic that sets Generation Yers apart from older generations is that they are most interested in lifestyle. They are loyal to brand names and make purchases based on personal lifestyle preferences. Unity Marketing, a marketing consulting agency providing research services, calls young consumers the “What-It-All” Generation. “They have an appetite for luxury that far exceeds that of the older cohort,” said Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of Shopping: Why We Love It and How Retailers Can Create the Ultimate Experience. According to the group’s research, young affluents spent 30 percent more on luxuries in 2006 than people older than 40. Kip Creel, president of StandPoint Marketing, a horticulture-focused research company, has doe extensive research on this new generation of consumers. He found that nearly 20 million 25- to 34- year-olds already own a home, and they outspend the average homeowner in every home improvement category. He calls this group the Emerging Homeowners. According to Creel, what makes these young homeowners different from their parents is their readiness to turn to professionals in order to complete projects quickly. Creel explained that not only do Emerging Homeowners earn more money than older generations did at their age, but they are also willing and able to borrow against home equity or even use credit cards in order to fund expensive projects. This younger generation places more value on personal time. They want their projects completed quickly, and this oftentimes means hiring professionals to do the job, according to Creel. Emerging Homeowners are more willing to admit they won’t try completing complex projects without help. New Opportunities All these emerging trends and styles offer businesses many opportunities to take advantage of younger generations’ preferences. According to Creel, the biggest frustrations for young home-owners is that they want to achieve results in similar to what they see on home makeover TV shows, but they don’t know how to pull it all together for a finished look. He suggests business should provide a plan for those who want to create a beautiful landscape but lack the ability. Participants in Atlanta-based nQuery Research focus groups offered suggestions, such as demonstrations, displays, pamphlets, instructional DVDs and Websites. According to Unity Marketing, another growing trend among younger consumers is the use of loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are intended to encourage participants to spend more money in the stores of the brand sponsoring the programs, but the programs must be carefully implemented to stand out from the rest. Loyalty programs are not a new phenomenon, but what is new is how strongly loyalty programs influence the spending of young affluents. Young affluent consumers who are members of loyalty programs spend twice as much as average luxury consumers, said Danziger. One considerable challenge in attracting young consumers is competing with big box retailers. According to Creel, this generation has grown up with big box stores and the brands are imprinted in their DNA. Independent businesses must differentiate themselves from big box stores in order to compete with that which young consumers are accustomed. Know what your core values are, and build on them. Get your image out to the public. Creel suggests adopting a more youthful and contemporary positioning to attract new customers. If you want further information on Creel’s research, visit Lawn & Garden Retailer’s Web site at www.lgrmag.com and search the archives by author. To learn more about Unity Marketing and its research, go to www.unitymarketingonline.com. Ref: Daily reader 16 July 2007 OFA Newsletter