If you thought that the youth of America didn’t have the purchasing power of adults, you thought wrong! Young consumers don’t just have more disposable income nowadays; they’ve got the power to influence the spending habits of their parents as well.
According to market research group Harris Interactive, youngsters between the ages of eight and 24 will spend upwards of $211 billion in 2012. Naturally, this makes them an intriguing market segment as far as big name brands are concerned.
Companies understand that the young spenders of today will become the brand loyalists of tomorrow, and they want to know exactly what to expect from those spenders.
To that end, Harris Interactive conducted in 2011 what they call the Youth EquiTrend study.
The study polled over 5,000 young Americans in an effort to see how well certain brands measured up in terms of equity, emotional connection, and advocacy among the younger demographic.
In short, the study determined “which brands spark the strongest recognition and loyalty in the crowded, competitive youth market.”
The results of the poll are broken down by category (there are 13 total), and brands are ranked within each category. The comprehensive rankings are available at the Harris Interactive site, but here are some of the highlights:
Sweet Treats: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Candy Bars is the highest ranked brand, followed by Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses.
Cereals: Cheerios is the highest ranked brand, followed by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Sodas: Sprite is the highest ranked brand, followed by Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.
Broadcast TV Networks: ABC is the highest ranked brand, followed by Fox Television Network and CBS.
Kids TV Programming: Nickelodeon is the highest ranked brand, followed by Disney Channel and Cartoon Network.
Social Media: YouTube.com is the highest ranked brand, followed by Facebook.com.
Computers: Apple Computers is the highest ranked brand, followed by Hewlett-Packard Computers and Sony Computers
Mobile Phones: iPhone is the highest ranked brand, followed by HTC Phones and Samsung Phones
Gaming Platforms: Nintendo Wii is the highest ranked brand, followed by Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo DS.
Apple is leading the way in the “computers” category? No surprise there.
Hershey bars are still a favorite? That makes sense.
But it seems like Facebook might not be the number one social media destination we all assumed it was for younger individuals. YouTube officially has the reigns in that department, and if they can manage to keep it that way, they’ll likely have an army of loyalists in the years to come.
And how about Sprite outperforming both Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the “soda” category? Seems a bit surreal, but the kids have spoken, and they apparently prefer their pop to be of clear variety. Of course, seeing as how Coca-Cola owns Sprite, one might argue that Coke is still “it.” In any case, Pepsi is certainly going to have to fight for its meal.
And Cheerios rank higher than both Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Looks like youngsters don’t care as much about sugar and corn syrup as previously thought.
In their official press release for the study, Harris Interactive puts it best:
“Youth of today have spending power and they also have loyalty to brands. Some of this comes from their parents, but they also make their own decisions,” said Regina A. Corso, Senior Vice President for Youth and Education Research at Harris Interactive. “Brands who tap into this loyalty when a consumer is a tween, and nurture it through the teen years, will have an extremely loyal customer by the time the customer is a young adult. Companies need to remember that consumers do not magically appear at age 18.”
All things considered, modern marketers would do well to understand that young consumers tend to have a mind of their own.
What are your thoughts? Are the results of the Youth EquiTrend study worth noting? Are they surprising? Share your thoughts in the comments!