- - Tuesday, November 4, 2014

From Moen Watch 2015

(Marketwired) NORTH OLMSTED, OHIO — Gone are the days with Baby Boomers ruling the roost. Today, we’re seeing a new group coming into their own, and it’s time to make way for Generation Y.

These individuals, ranging from ages 19 to 36, make up 24 percent of the U.S. population. They also represent a generation in flux while some are in college or recently graduated and are living with their parents; others are already married professionals caught in the work/family crunch. No matter what stage of life they’re in, the reality is they represent between $1 trillion and $1.7 trillion in annual spending power and that number will only increase as their youngest members mature.

“This up-and-coming generation of young consumers is unlike any segment we have seen in the past,” says Jack Suvak, senior director of consumer and marketing insights, Moen. “They are the most educated, socially aware generation, with the potential of possessing a large portion of spending power. These individuals are prepared for what lies ahead, and are looking to interact with brands who can offer them a well-rounded, meaningful experience.”

The DNA of Generation Y

There are a number of outside influences working to shape the direction of Gen Y, the most important being they hold two-thirds of all outstanding student loan debt. They’re also waiting to start their next stage of life after college. Twenty percent have put off marriage and 22 percent have delayed having children. In addition, the rate at which Gen Y’ers head their own households has declined, compared to the population growth.

A generation divided

The DNA of Gen Y varies almost as widely as the age span within the demographic. There are two clearly defined segments within Gen Y: The younger set of “freshmen” is between the ages of 19 and 29; and the older individuals, or “sophomores,” are between the ages of 30 and 36. The sophomore group tends to be further ahead in terms of homeownership, employment, household income and relationship status as more are married.

Freshman: This segment of Gen Y typically resides with a spouse, significant other or adult family member. They’re in the city or suburbs and more than half of this group, 60 percent, want to make the move to purchase a home within the next two years, and are looking to establish a sense of permanence. These individuals enjoy the convenience of city or near-city living, and 46 percent of those that want to move within two years want their home to be in the city.

Sophomore: Looking at the older group of Gen Y, they are primarily living with a spouse, significant other, or have the financial security to live on their own. Again, they enjoy what the city and suburbs have to offer and 67 percent say they have a desire to move, with 45 percent looking to make that move within the next two years. This group is looking for more space as they leave their current residence, but still have the desire to stay in or near the city.

A meaningful experience

Gen Y holds a clear set of values and attributes, which serves as an important lens for their everyday lives. When looking to engage with brands, these individuals seek out companies with traits that align with their own. Some of these include:

Authenticity: This group prides themselves on being true to who they are, and they have come to expect the same from the brands they interact with on a daily basis. These individuals actively seek out companies which position themselves with integrity and promote honest communication.

Personalization: This generation, which has matured under the value that everyone is unique and we should be celebrated for our individuality, has an innate desire to tailor their experiences to fit their needs.

Connected experiences: These individuals came of age in a connected world with the ability to access anyone and any piece of information at any time. A lifetime of connectivity has caused this generation to expect and value a connected existence.

Socially conscious: While this generation may be known as self-involved, they value the concept of social consciousness. Growing up in a globally connected environment, they are more likely to pay a premium for items offered by socially conscious brands.

“As this generation prepares for their next stages of life, they are optimistic and have high expectations for themselves and others,” concluded Mr. Suvak. “Educated and tech savvy, this group is searching for meaningful experiences, both personally and professionally, and expect a higher level of service and experience from the brands with which they choose to interact.”

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