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Creating winning strategies for Generation Y. Mike Smith Media Management Center Northwestern University __________________________ Presentation plan. Who is Gen Y Data from a variety of sources Comparisons to boomers Media usage Technology interests

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creating winning strategies for generation y

Creating winning strategies forGeneration Y

Mike Smith

Media Management Center

Northwestern University


presentation plan
Presentation plan
  • Who is Gen Y
    • Data from a variety of sources
    • Comparisons to boomers
  • Media usage
  • Technology interests
  • Buying habits
  • Values and lifestyles
who is generation y
Who is Generation Y?
  • Born between 1977 and 1995
  • In 2002, aged 7 to 25
  • Coming of age now
  • Often called Echo Boomers, Millennials
their impact
Their impact
  • In each of the years from 1989 to 1993, U.S. births exceeded four million for the first time since the early 1960s.
  • Today there are roughly 57 million Americans under age 15 -- and more than 20 million in the peak years between four and eight.

SOURCE: Census Bureau

portrait of a tidal wave
Portrait of a tidal wave
  • More than 70 million Gen Y-ers make up more than 21 percent of current population.
  • Generation Y will exceed the number of baby boomers at their peak.
  • The size of Generation Y is expected to increase at twice the rate of the overall population until 2010.

SOURCE: Census Bureau

portrait of a tidal wave6
Portrait of a tidal wave
  • Nearly 60% of children under the age of six have mothers who work outside the home, compared with just 18% in 1960.
  • Some 61% of U.S. children aged three to five are attending preschool, compared with 38% in 1970.

SOURCE: Census Bureau

portrait if a tidal wave
Portrait if a tidal wave
  • Nearly 60% of households with children aged seven or younger have personal computers.

SOURCE: IDC/LINK Resources Corp., New York

portait of a tidal wave
Portait of a tidal wave
  • More than one-third of elementary-school students nationwide are black or Hispanic, compared with 22% in 1974.
  • If current trends continue, “minorities” will make up the majority of the U.S. population by 2050.

SOURCE: Census Bureau

portrait of a tidal wave9
Portrait of a tidal wave
  • Approximately 15% of U.S. births in recent years were to foreign-born mothers.
  • Origins so diverse that more than 100 different languages are spoken in the school systems of New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Fairfax County, Va.

SOURCE: United Nations Center for Population

portrait of a tidal wave10
Portrait of a tidal wave
  • Nearly one of three births in the early 1990s was to an unmarried woman. With approximately one in three marriages ending in divorce, that means a significant portion of this generation will spend at least part of childhood in a single-parent home.

SOURCES: Various

portrait of a tidal wave11
Portrait of a tidal wave
  • One-quarter of children under age six are living in poverty -- that is, with cash income of less than $15,141 for a family of four.

SOURCE: Department of Labor

reading by generation
Reading by generation

SOURCE: Media Management Center

18 year olds are important
18-year-olds are important

SOURCE: Media Management Center

audience pool and gen y
Audience pool and Gen Y

SOURCE: Media Management Center

ethnic makeup
Ethnic makeup

Generation Y is an ethnically diverse generation.

Minorities make up 34 percent of Generation Y, but only 24 percent of baby boomers.

Baby boomers

Generation Y

ethnic projections
Ethnic projections
  • Ethnic diversity will continue to rise among Generation Y.
  • Hispanics will be the largest minority group in 10 years.
  • Hispanics will make up 17 percent in 2010 and 19 percent in 2020.

SOURCE: Census Bureau

Generation Y ethnic make-up projections

media usage
Media usage
  • Heavily concentrated in broadcast media, especially radio.
  • Newspapers are generally trusted as a good news source.
  • The Internet is used less frequently than all other forms of media.

SOURCE: Media Management Center

teens use of media
Teens’ use of media


media choice for news
Media choice for news*

Percentage of teens


a quick test
A quick test

How did you hear about the Atlanta office bombing?

SOURCE: Media Management Center

a quick test24
A quick test

How did you pursue the story?

SOURCE: Media Management Center

generation y meets the web

Generation Y meets the Web

“Technologically, this generation is going to make the Gen-Xers look like fuddy-duddies. They’re on fast forward.”

Frank Gregorsky

social historian at the Discovery Institute,

a Seattle think tank

technology trends
Technology trends
  • 56 percent of teens have a PC at home; 85 percent use a computer at school.
  • Two-thirds of children under 11 first used a computer before they were 5.
web use highest with young adults
Web use highest with young adults

SOURCE: Jupiter Communications






gen y and the web
Gen Y and the Web
  • More than 80 percent of teens have Internet access.
  • 44 percent of teens used the Internet in the previous week
  • 79 percent of children say they would like to spend more time online

Where teens access the Internet

online shopping
Online shopping
  • 67 percent of teens and 37 percent of children who have Internet access use it to research or buy products online

What teens buy online

spending trends
Spending trends
  • The average teenage boy spends $84 a week
  • THE average teenage girl spends $83 a week
  • Teens had a combined income of $121 billion in 1998, a 9 percent increase from 1997.
  • 49 percent of teens have a part-time job.

Where teens get their money

shopping as sport
Shopping as sport
  • The average teen visits a mall 54 times a year, compared to 39 times for all other shoppers.
  • 87 percent of teens say they go to the mall to shop, 73 percent say they go to hang out.
e commerce wants y
E-commerce wants Y
  • Teen e-commerce sites soar
  • The success of these sites based on teen buying.
cyber allowance
Cyber allowance
  • Cyber allowance is at the heart of three sites:
      • I Can Buy
      • RocketCash
      • DoughNet
cyber allowance sites
Cyber allowance sites
  • Parents set up pre-approved accounts.
  • Digital cash works at only pre-selected vendors and Online malls.
  • Teens will account for $1.2 billion of electronic commerce dollars in 2002.
  • 5- to 12-year-olds will be responsible for $100 million in spending Online in 2002.

SOURCE: Jupiter Communications

web y strategies
Web Y strategies
  • Some Gen Y Web sites go straight for the e-commerce payoff, while others attempt to build community using an e-commerce engine.
web y strategies40
Web Y strategies
  • Commerce THEN community:
    • The Delias clothing catalog site buries in small type at the bottom of the home page a survey question asking readers whether they “Dig or Diss” the new Austin Powers movie.
    • Main focus is stuff for sale.
web y strategies41
Web Y strategies
  • Community then commerce:
    • Bolt, which boasts 800,000 members, hits you right off the home page with a picture and profile of its Member of the Day and a rolling headline feed of Gen Y topics such as "Student suspended for blue hair."
        • Favorite Memories of the Prom
        • Electronic greeting cards ready to send for various occasions such as "I Have a Crush on You."
web y strategies42
Web Y strategies
  • Commerce AND community:
  • Alloy Online's home page is more of a mix of content and commerce.
    • Content-heavy sections include:
      • An advice column ("How do I get rid of hickeys?"), sports, music, and even a poetry section
      • There's also a link to Alloy member home pages and a tool to create your own, using technology from
products that sell
Products that sell
  • Interactivity
    • Anything having to do with education
    • Educational playthings sold as stores like Noodle Kidoodle and Zainy Brainy.
    • Such stores tend to shun violent or licensed products and stress multimedia learning.
interactive education

Interactive education

“The motivation for the company was quite frankly, the belief that consumers can't spend enough time with their children, and when they do, they want it to be something that will help them go to Harvard.”

Brian Lynch, vice president of operations at the Learningsmith, a chain of 36 stores based in Cambridge, Mass.

products that sell45
Products that sell
  • Books
    • This generation is reading and being read to
    • Publishers have responded with an outpouring of titles and series for young readers
    • Annual sales of juvenile books have more than doubled, to $1.4 billion, since 1987


“We have babies in here, and one-, two- and three-year-olds coming to our story hours.”

Maureen Golden, vice president of merchandising for Barnes & Noble Inc.

products that sell47
Products that sell
  • Clothes!
    • Apparel manufacturers from Ralph Lauren to Gap Inc. are also targeting the Gen Y crowd
  • Preferences:
    • Jeans
    • Sports jerseys
    • Baseball caps

Around the corner:

Dress-up clothes

products that sell48
Products that sell
  • Family time
      • Auto makers are courting their parents with minivans and sport-utility vehicles, many with built-in child seats.
      • Hotels and cruise lines are offering kids' programs.
      • Some malls, furniture stores and even supermarkets provide on-site baby-sitting.
      • Restaurants are setting out crayons, putting changing tables in restrooms.
brands are big
Brands are big
  • Generation Y is the most brand-conscious generation ever.
  • 90 percent of product requests made to parents by children 4 to12 years old are by brand name.
20 coolest brands
11. FUBU

12. Coca-Cola

13. Calvin Klein

14. Cover Girl

15. Pepsi

16. Ralph Lauren

17. Clinique

18. Mudd Jeans

19. Nautica

20. Reebok

1. Nike

2. Adidas

3. Tommy Hilfiger

4. Sony

5. Nintendo

6. The GAP

7. Old Navy

8. Abercrombie & Fitch

9. JNCO clothing

10. Levi’s

20 coolest brands*
values are important








Common attributes of the generation

Values are important
  • You can already see a generational shift:
    • Teenagers aren't as angry as they used to be
    • The crowd right behind them shows much less hostility, much less nihilism.
gen y and their parents
Gen Y and their parents
  • Generation Y and their baby boomer parents are extremely close:
    • When asked who they admire, most Gen Y say their parents.
    • Generation Y and boomers are “in agreement on important issues, whether they have to do with authority, environment, the corporation, the government, volunteerism.”
gen y and their parents54
Gen Y and their parents
  • 80 percent of teens feel they can trust their parents to be there when they need them.
  • 25 percent feel their parents do not understand them.
  • 90 percent of teenage daughters are “very happy” with their relationship with their mothers.
  • 70 percent of mothers and 78 percent of teenage daughters feel an understanding with each other.
attitudes toward sex
Attitudes toward sex**

A 1998 survey of 18-to-24-year-olds revealed that:

  • 23 percent believe it is “always wrong” to have sex before marriage. In 1972, 10.4 percent believed that.
  • 76.6 percent say they are sexually active. In 1988, 83.9 percent said that.
  • 21.6 percent of romantically-involved couples live together. In 1996, 31.7 percent did so.
political participation
Political participation**
  • One-fifth of Americans 18 to 24 years old voted in the 1996 national elections. Nearly 49 percent of all voting-age Americans voted in that election.
voices ad appeal
Voices: Ad appeal
  • “I like ads that are flashy and look good and you can tell what they’re advertising.”

-Amelia Gonzales (left)

with Michelle Mulvihille

voices ad appeal59
Voices: Ad appeal
  • “I like ads that aren’t with anorexic-looking people, but with real people.” -Sarah Rane, 20
voices shopping
Voices: Shopping
  • “Almost all of the money I earn, from babysitting and my parents, goes to shopping for clothes and accessories.” -Rachel Daveo, 13
voices brands
Voices: Brands
  • “I look for brand and quality when I shop. Price doesn’t always mean quality. Take Starter -- it’s expensive, but it sucks.” -Brady Chalmers, 13
voices the web
Voices: The Web
  • “I spend three hours a day on the Internet -- playing games, e-mailing and chatting online.” -Michael Wilson, 17 -with Teneshia Harvey
voices the media
Voices: The media
  • “The media portray our generation in a negative way.” -Lindsay Weatherdon, 18
voices parents
Voices: Parents
  • “I look up to my parents. They are great people with morals. My values reflect theirs pretty closely.” -Carla Lewandowski, (right) 17 -with Cyndi Harman
voices their peers
Voices: Their peers
  • “I look up to my mom because for her, it’s 90 percent work and 10 percent pleasure. People (in our generation) are just too spoiled, too materialistic.” -Bard Glynn, (left) 18 -with Matt Wesley
voices their peers66
Voices: Their peers
  • “Members of our generation are not serious enough. They just want to have fun.” -Yunhee Im, 17
voices politics
Voices: Politics
  • “The biggest problem facing our generation is corrupt politicians and not enough youths involved in politics.” -Aaron Schiff, 20
voices the future
Voices: The future
  • “The country is definitely not headed in the right direction -- just look at all the things that happened with Clinton and in Yugoslavia.” -Drake Ilich, 15
voices the future69
Voices: The future
  • “The biggest problems facing our generation are access to guns and weapons and racism.” -Diana Thiara, (far right) 11 -with (from left to right) Allison Boweus, Elizabeth Vieira, Maya Smith and Roanne Mesirow
traits of gen y
Fierce independence

Openness (emotional and intellectual)

Inclusion (global)

Free expression /strong views



Preoccupation with maturity


Suspicion of corporateness

Authentication and trust

Traits of Gen Y