Marketing to Teens (1,234 words)
By Paul Barbagallo
Numbering more than 70 million people born between 1980 and 1996, Generation Y is the largest group of teenagers in American history, dwarfing even the baby boomers.
Until the economic downturn of the last few years, their lives have been spent in a period of prosperity. Armed with cell phones, Walkmans and pagers, today's teenagers have grown up in the age of instant global communication, media saturation and material excess.
"Several years ago, the country was in the tail end of a decade-long economic boom," says Michael Wood, vice president of Northbrook, IL-based market research firm Teenage Research Unlimited (TRU). "Even the oldest teens were too young to remember the recession of the early 1990s."
As such, most teens remain confident they will get through the tough times without much personal sacrifice. According to figures released by TRU, media-savvy teen consumers spent $172 billion in 2001.
"Not only are teens more savvy with their own spending, they are also impacting anywhere from $150 to $200 billion of their parents' and siblings' annual spending," asserts Derek S. White, executive vice president and general manager of media and marketing companies for Alloy Inc. "This group is looked at now as the 'experts,' whether it be from what type of jeans to buy or what sort of computer software to purchase. Whatever it may be, these teens are highly educated about products on the market."
The Right Stuff
Teens between the ages of 16 and 17 spend the majority of their money on clothes, shoes, jewelry, sporting equipment, entertainment, health and beauty aids, and food, according to a recent study conducted by market research firm Harris Interactive KidPulse. Indeed, many experts attest that teens will spend more than $1,300 of their own money each year on these type of products.