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BizReport : Research archives : March 10, 2010

Mind the generation gap

Marketers looking to fine-tune their campaign targeting should be interested in new data from Nielsen concerning the unique shopping needs and wants of each major generation in the U.S.

by Helen Leggatt

nielsen_logo.gifEach generation has its own unique quirks and attitudes be it in music, fashion or even shopping preferences. For marketers, understanding what drives each generation to part with their cash, and where they do it, is critical to campaign development.

"Observers of popular culture have long known that in large part, generations look alike, think alike, dress alike, vote alike, live alike, and share a similar attitude toward life and leisure activities," said Todd Hale, Senior Vice President, Consumer & Shopper Insights, on the Nielsen blog. "That theory certainly holds true for shopping."

Nielsen analyzed the four major generations in the U.S. to give an insight into what motivates them to make a purchase and which online channels work best for each.

Greatest Generation (65+)

"Value" is the keyword for this generation. Money-saving offers, freebies and senior discounts all appeal, as do products designed for small households. Consideration should be given to the limitations that come with age in terms of clear signage and package design.

Message boards and email are the two most-used online channels by this generation.

Boomers (age 45-63)

Reward this generation for spending their cash by implementing cash-back or point-redemption schemes.

Over one-third of the Internet population falls within the Boomer generation and they love to shop online. They are increasingly getting to grips with social media, particularly Twitter which saw the generation's presence on the micro-blogging platform increase 469% last year.

Generation X (age 33-44)

"Convenience" is the keyword for Gen Xers as they go about their busy lives mixing careers with child care. Make life easier for Gen Xers and push relevant information to them via social media.

Generation X is an online generation comfortable with most forms of Internet and mobile channels. Most (80%) have a social networking presence and spend online time comparing products and prices. Deliver punchy, act-now campaigns using new media to drive response such as location-based offers and video.

Millennials (age 15-32)

Millennials want it, and they want it now, and if you're lucky, they want to tell everyone else about what they want, too.

Impulsive and seeking instant gratification, Millennials don't mess around. Grab a Millennials attention with a "can't refuse" offer or a quirky promotion and let them do the talking - usually by mobile.

Tags: campaign planning, consumer demographics, Internet use, marketing strategy, online shopping, shopping channels

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