This month’s view from PressPoint is going to take a swerve into global demographics – you have been warned!
Ever since mass-consumerism rose to the fore after the Second World War, marketers and social anthropologists have labelled huge swathes of the western population with generic terminology, designed to explain who they were, what they thought and crucially how, when and what they purchased.
Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y and Z and the Millennials have entered the lexicon of marketing, and made the cross-over into the language of common-usage, largely because these definitions, although very broad – are for the most part, quite accurate.
The Baby Boomers were the ones that really drove the consumer economies of the 1960’s 70’s and 80’s. However, and this important fact number 1 – their influence is on the wane.
What you might see as your bread and butter loyal customer is going to be changing and you need to be ready for the change that will take place over the next few years.
To most businesses, Baby Boomers were the dream, comparatively high disposable incomes, they bought their properties, paid off their mortgages and generally made the most of a benign global economic climate.
Of course, there were bumps along the way and not everyone benefited from the general economic rise from the late 1950’s onwards, but for the most part Baby Boomers made hay whilst the sun shone into their lives.
Then, in or around 1980, a new generation started (literally) to be born, eventually a new demographic was defined for this group – the Millennials. It is this group who would go on to become the planet’s first digital generation.
Fast forward a decade or three and the pace of change in the world, globalisation and economic uncertainty has given the Millennials, a vastly changed outlook and a hugely different set of values, from their predecessors.
A vast amount has been written about the millennial generation, quite a lot of it was initially negative. However, isn’t this always the way? A disapproving older generation despairing of their offspring! However, the sheer number of the millennial generation means that their purchasing power will soon outstrip that of the Baby Boomer generation, making them very, very relevant for all business owners.
Here’s a few top-line facts about the Millennial generation:
– Millennials are the first digitally connected generation, they very tech savvy and are highly prevalent on social media and use this forum to form opinions on brands and companies.
– Millennials have access to hitherto unheard of levels of information, which will influence their purchase decisions (product information, product reviews, price comparisons etc. etc. etc.)
– Millennials are buying property much later than their parents.
– Millennials will both marry and have children much later.
And here’s crucial fact number two – they are buying pets much earlier than their parents. Research from the U.S. has found that Millennials buy their first pet at the age of 21, Baby Boomers bought their first pet aged 29.
Some more crucial facts? Millennials will also regularly pamper their pets with non-essential items such as luxury beds, pet-clothing and toys.
One of the Millennials key interests is personal well-being and this is being transferred into how their pets are being fed. The nutritional needs of their pets are researched, as is the credibility of companies that provide the food, with natural ingredients and real meat being highly scored.
Whether the late-baby/early-pet facts, outlined above are interconnected, we wouldn’t presume to judge, but a simple join the dots exercise leads to some very obvious conclusions about how businesses in the pet sector should start to think about their futures.
The question for owners of pet brands or those who retail products for our four legged friends, is a very simple one: Are you ready to take advantage of this new customer and to align your products or shop, both on and off-line, with their needs?
If not, then it’s high time you were.