15-24-year-olds are the fastest-growing segment of the UK population under 60. They will grow 11% by the end of the decade – that’s 870,000 new customers by 2030.*
They are also a cohort of future consumers with unique habits, which is why the Social Impact Barometer was born.
Using a combination of metrics not applied to this age-group anywhere else, it studies how they see brands and suggests ways in which companies can respond.
It looks at the perception amongst 16-24-year-olds of brand performance in four categories: the individual, the community, sustainability and as a career maker.
These marketing touchpoints are not usually basketed together – in fact some aren’t traditional marketing touchpoints at all.
A brand’s reputation as a career maker or its attitude towards the individual are new and challenging ways of looking at marketing. But they reflect the fact that young people are as likely to judge a brand by how it treats staff, or supports the LGBTQ+ community, as they are by its latest TV ad.
And few things about young people aged 11-26 – Gen Z – are traditional.
They are the first generation to grow up digitally native and fully immersed in social media. Their formative years have been spent living with Covid disruption, worsening climate crisis and now, the cost-of-living crisis.
They are hyper-aware by necessity and have the tools – and creativity – to navigate their own narratives. They are far less likely to accept other people’s.
Marketing is as vulnerable to this questioning as every other aspect of their lives. This year’s Barometer revealed that 66% of young people thought brands should spend less money on TV, radio and digital campaigns and more on initiatives that have a ‘positive impact’ on their lives.
The Barometer also showed their priorities are mental health, reducing personal environmental impact, LGBTQ+ issues, and a supportive work environment. 95% are concerned about the cost-of-living crisis, 43% ‘highly’ or ‘extremely’.