Understanding the 18-25 market

How do we tap into the minds of young people? It’s a question that’s been exercising the minds of marketers and their agencies – how to target the elusive 18-25 market and give them something they want. The latest brand surveys suggest the answer may lie in getting to know young people and understanding their lifestyles rather than just focusing on spotting new tastes and trends.

As Voxburner recently revealed with their Youth 100 list, the most desired brand among the 18-24 age group is YouTube, followed by Amazon, Google, BBC, Channel 4 and Ben&Jerry’s. Looking at the complete list, it’s clear that today’s youth are not as impressed by the latest fashion trends as we think and are perhaps more practical and rounded than they are sometimes given credit for.

There is no fashion brand in the top 25 and very few of the top 50 are considered cool or edgy. Instead brands that are useful, save money and help to stay socially and digitally connected, like Google, Amazon, Skype and Wikipedia, dominate the list. Fun is also an important draw: YouTube, Ben&Jerry’s, BBC and Channel 4 score well because they offer interesting and entertaining content.

Value trumps cool trappings

But not all the popular brands can be found online. Gregg’s, which has a mostly offline high street presence, has been at or near the top of the fast food rankings for the past two years, while old favourites such as Cadbury and Walkers crisps are as popular as ever.

Value doesn’t always mean inexpensive though. Young people will pay a little more for quality products such as Innocent smoothies, which are sold on their real fruit content and hand-made Kettle Chips. These are brands that invest heavily in preserving their authenticity, communicating their brand values and both rank in the top 50.

Individuals, not tribes

What all this shows is that young people don’t fit neatly into categories. They are less bothered if a brand is on the high street or online if it has what they want. And they’re not concerned it might seem uncool if it gives them a convenient service.

It seems the best way for agencies and their clients to understand young consumers is to form a more rounded picture of them as individuals, across their different tastes, interests and channels. One way to achieve this is by adding layers of demographic and lifestyle information to existing contact details. This can help agencies and their clients get a whole view of the customer, from lifestyle to spending habits, rather than just looking at fragments of the puzzle. And this in turn can help them create more exciting, entertaining and meaningful content that the 18-25 age group can relate to.

How the survey was carried out

The Youth 100 report was carried out by Voxburner together with Thinkhouse and The Student Room. It asked more than 2,500 18–24-year-olds to rate 250 brands according to whether they love, like, dislike, hate or have no feelings towards them. The ‘like’ and love scores were then added together to create the top 100.

Top Ten brands
1. YouTube

2. Amazon

3. Google

4. BBC

5. Ben&Jerry’s

6. Cadbury
7. Facebook

8. Pringles

9. Wikipedia

10. Channel 4

See the full list


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