THE WHAT ON “Y”
In late 2009, PopSugar Media conducted a study on Generation Y women, “Why Y Women” ( www.sugarinc.com/
Why YWomen). ;e Y generation are,
primarily, the children of the Baby Boom
generation (born between the mid-1970s
and early 1990s), and, in the U.S., are
estimated to number about 70 million
men and women, or 20% of the population
(according to the U.S. Census Bureau
information utilized for the report). It is
the largest generation since the Boomers.
According to the published study, this
group is ethnically diverse, extremely
independent, and adept at navigating
new technologies and media platforms.
;ey are also thought to be more socially
conscious than the older Generation X,
and are less inclined to draw a distinct line
between their personal and professional
lives, seeking instead to ;nd jobs that are
meaningful and spiritually rather than
;ey are also highly in;uential in terms of
spending. Harris Interactive estimates that
Gen Y spent more than $120 billion in 2007.
According to a May 2008 Nielsen report,
U.S. households with at least one member
of Gen Y account for 37% of total dollars
spent and 31% of total trips, and spend 15%
more than the average household. And the
two-tier study examines Y women’s sphere
of in;uence on lifestyle trends. It also looks
at how they are, in turn, in;uenced by their
media consumption. How do they shop?
How do they share? How do they respond
to advertising? Additionally, the PopSugar
Media study examines how technology and
social media help them expand their sphere
of in;uence, and provides insight into how
marketers need to target and communicate
with this group.
• Gen Y Women Have Rede;ned
“Authenticity.” While Gen Y women tend
to be skeptical of marketing messages,
they respond to brands and messages they
perceive as authentic. What has changed for
this generation is the de;nition of authentic.
While Gen X and Boomers sought insight
and brand approval from experts, Gen Y
women rely more heavily on their peers to
determine a brand’s authenticity. One of the
key di;erences for this generation is how
they de;ne their peer group, which not
only includes their real-life friends and co-workers, but also online friends, blog writers
and anonymous reviewers.
• ;ey Exert Brand In;uence on Older
Women. It is no surprise, according to the
report, that Gen Y women see themselves
as in;uential trendsetters. What is more
surprising is that two-thirds of Gen X
women also look to Gen Y women to de;ne
trends in popular culture. Gen Y women are
not just in;uencing each other—they are
also impacting the shopping behaviors of
women a generation older.
• Online Connections Impact Brand
Discovery. Gen Y women are far more
likely to use blogs and social networks
for brand discovery than Gen X women.
Almost double the percentage of Gen Y
women (42%) reported they’ve discovered
a new brand or product from a friend
mentioning it in a status update than Gen X
women (22%). Additionally, Gen Y women
use blogs written by nonprofessionals more
than Gen X women (28% versus 16%), as
well as blogs written by subject experts
or professional writers (22% versus 16%).
Consumption of niche media such as blogs
reinforces Generation Y women’s perception
of themselves as more individualistic than
“We have to get in touch with our consumers. We’re looking for the most efficient ways possible to reach consumers. But for any company that prides itself on innovation, that wants to create not just new brands but also new categories of products, we’re going to have to communicate with people. While people increasingly will do it digitally, there’s no question that everybody won’t be ready for digital communications until deep into the future.” “P&G CEO Bob McDonald on Why Size Doesn’t Matter” —Bob McDonald, chairman and CEO, P&G n Advertising Age, January 18, 2010