How to get the attention of the coveted 18 to 34 year-old demographic? For some time now, that has been a top question on the minds of marketers everywhere. But probably not anymore. The latest word on this group says, they’re broke, heavily in debt, in a tight job market, and they want cheap or free deals. By some accounts, Generation Y is a “why bother” group of people. They’re unlikely to leave mom and dad’s basement and hop a train toNorth Dakotawhere the jobs flow as freely as the oil wells. Consequently, they have little to no discretionary funds and have a tendency to be frugal. They expect that anything worth buying will go on sale, hence the rise of deal sites of all flavors. Pew research statistics show that only 54.3 percent of 18-24 year-olds are employed. And they owe billions in student loans.
What this means for the marketing world is that this group is not driving sales figures – at least not very high. Retailers such as Aeropostale and Gap that target this demographic are discovering that the best way to attract their attention is with price cuts and deals, because they are either not willing or not able to pay full price. While this is may be a troublesome trend now, the future of upscale brands may also be in jeopardy. Conventional retailing wisdom says that trendy young consumers grow up to love luxury brands. But when the trendy young consumers are “cheap,” this trend might not bear out later on. From lavish homes to high-end clothing and expensive vacations, Generation Y might not become the hoped-for, big spenders of tomorrow. But that’s just the view from here. No one can know for sure.