Understanding Youth

What works and what does not when researching and marketing to young audiences

John Geraci
Vice-President of Youth and Education Research, Harris Interactive Inc., United States.
Peter Silsbee
Director of Youth Research, Harris Interactive Inc., United States.
Sarah Fauth
Senior Youth Research Associate, Harris Interactive Inc., United States.
and
Jennifer Campbell
Senior Youth Research Assistant, Harris Interactive Inc., United States.

MARKET POWER AND KID-FLUENCE: THE FUTURE IS NOW

In the United States, the youth market is undeniably large. Early success with younger consumers is integral to the long-term viability of most consumer brands. The generation of children born after 1976 is often called 'Generation Y' and currently represents 26% of the population in the United States. A decade from now, Generation Y will represent 41% of the population in the United States and will be 'coming of age'. The bulk of this cohort will be in its prime earning and spending years (U.S. Bureau of the Census). In addition, a decade from now will find members (of this cohort) at the helm of many management positions in industry, as leaders of startups in the new economy and as up-and-coming stars in government. Given their number, they will have an effect on the consumer economy of a scope that will be similar to that which had occurred with their baby boomer parents.(See figure 1).