Brand loyalty now more important for teens
A study of teen and young adult consumers (aged 13 to 21) has found that consumer behavior among females in this age group has shifted more than that of males during the economic recession, according to the CRM and behavioral marketing agency Euro RSCG Discovery.
The study also found that brand loyalty is increasingly important among this age group, as the majority of teenagers and young adults (73%) now shop at a fixed group of stores.
"There is an immense opportunity for gender-specific behavioural marketing that will engage teens and young adults in this recession, especially when it targets those that spend their own money," said Zain Raj, CEO for Euro RSCG Discovery. "Although the economy is impacting teen consumers, and particularly young women, loyalty patterns indicate that marketers stand to benefit most from advertising brand value and finding new ways to become part of this age group's brand rituals."
According to the survey, female teens and young adults are more worried about the economy (92% compared to 87%) and are more likely to engage in money-saving activities (41% compared to 35%) than males. Compared with one year before, nearly half of the females in this age group said they were looking for sales (48%) and staying at home (51%) more often, compared to fewer than 43% of males in both categories.
The males surveyed were more likely to report not being affected by the economic slowdown (15% and 7%) and that the relationships they have with the stores they shop at have grown stronger over the past year. In fact, significantly more males than females always (6% compared to 3%) or usually (26% compared to 17%) buy brand name clothing at full retail price. Almost half (48%) of these males buy high-end brands just as often, and nearly one-third (29%) spend money on entertainment more often.
However, males are also more likely to shop for one item at a time (42% compared to 33%) and to think of clothing as seasonal (19% compared to 13%). They are also far less likely to seek information from media, catalogues and the web for their purchase decisions.
"Now, more than ever, it is important for brands to capitalise on the relationships they have with this younger audience," concluded Raj. "While young consumers are becoming more conscientious about their purchases, they still return to the stores and brands they are familiar with when it comes time to buy."
The survey also suggested that the best opportunity to target the younger generation of consumers is in stores, despite a proliferation of internet and social network usage among this age group, as more than 70% of teenagers and young adults said they research and make purchases in stores. In addition, stores were the most prominent source of fashion purchase information, compared to word of mouth (53%), catalogues (37%), magazines (23%), online (20%) and television (17%).