Although their spending power at the moment is low, Generation Z, the youngest demographic segment age 2 to 17, represents more than 25% of the US population, and is more diverse and fragmented than any generation before.
Gen Zers range from ages 2 to 17, though the target range for marketers lies from ages 11 to 16. They are the most diverse and multicultural of any generation in the US—55% are Caucasian, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American and 4% are Asian. Nuclear Family Fallout: only 46% live in home with two married, heterosexual parents (was 73% in 1960).
- Driven Workers: A DIY culture and access to crowdsourcing shape Gen Z’s goals for work and self-employment.
- Do-Gooders: Wants to make a difference in the world: 60% want their jobs to impact the world, and 76% are concerned about humanity’s impact on the planet.
- Fast Movers: Appreciates visuals over text—with an average attention span of 8 seconds, Gen Zers prefer a 5-screen environment to consume data and communicate.
- Dream Shifters: The least likely to believe there is such a thing as the “American Dream“—looking for products and messaging that reflect a reality rather than a perfect life.
- Built on Research and Self-Education: More than half use YouTube or social media for classroom assignments, and 1 in 5 only access their textbooks electronically.
- Less Likely to Treat Brands as ‘Friends’: When it comes to connecting with marketers on platforms, 35% of teens like the posts of brands on social, but only 30% will follow those brands.
(Sources: Marketo; Campaign US.)
The Millennial segment, comprised of adults age 18 to 34, makes up about 23% of the Chicagoland population. Inherently defined as tech- and social-savvy, this group is known for being difficult for brands to connect with because of their wide-reaching multichannel media habits.
The Millennial generation can be segmented in 3 groups that are in significantly different life stages. Each group is going to behave differently towards a brand or a product/service category—important to remember when speaking to Millennials as consumers.
- Nouveau-Millennial: 18-20 year olds: college students in their first 2 years of college.
- Mid-Millennial: 21-24 year olds: college students in their last 2 years of college; recent college graduates that are either looking for a job or starting their first careers.
- Pro-Millennial: 25-34 year olds: young professionals who are getting married and becoming parents, though much later than any other generation (median age for marriage is in the late 20s).
- Peer-to-peer approval: 84% of Millennials buy based on user reviews.
- Global responsibility: 61% of Millennials worry about the world and want to change.
- Divergent work values: 70% of Millennials believe office attendance is unnecessary.
- Personal branding: 60% have uploaded “personal content” to the web.
- Short, but constant communication style: 140-character mindset: 65% prefer dialog via social media to traditional ads.
- Relevant Content: Contextual Placements and Sponsored Content: A ‘Conversation’.
- Creating Experience: Standard Creative and Messaging Won’t Work—Immersive, Consistent Platform Approaches Needed.
- Social and Services: Digital Experience Needs to be Seamless and Integrated; Social Media Needs to Be Responsive.
- ‘Traditional’ Media Has Its Place: News Websites and Traditional Destinations Resonate With Older Millennial Group.
(Sources: Nielsen Claritas, 2015; Geoscape BehaviorLink™ 2014; American Community Survey 2013; Trendhunter.)
Gen X, the ‘middle’ generation, comprised of adults age 35 to 54, represents the majority of the population in Chicago at the moment, but will be overtaken by Boomers over the next 5 years.
Gen Xers are bookended by two much larger generations – the Baby Boomers ahead and the Millennials behind – that are strikingly different from one another. In most of the ways we take stock of generations – their racial and ethnic makeup; their political, social and religious values; their economic and educational circumstances; their technology usage – Gen Xers are a low-slung, straight-line bridge between these generations.
- Work & Retirement: Very few feel their careers were impeded by older or younger generations, and the vast majority were generally pleased with their career advancement as well.
- Finances & Housing: Gen Xers want to retire at the earliest possible opportunity — with most planning for about age 62. But they don’t think they will be able to stop working until age 67.
- Family: The majority of Gen Xers have children and they are largely still living in their homes, indicating an opportunity for generational marketing specific to Gen Xers as their children grow up and “leave the nest”.
- Health & Aging: Almost six in 10 Gen Xers reported they include exercise and sports in their daily routines, yet only 15% said exercise and recreation will be a priority activity in their retirement.
- Social Media: This is the first generation to incorporate social media into their lives, and nearly two-thirds of Gen X (65.6%) used Facebook in the past month.
- Video: Digital video is even more popular among Gen Xers than social networking, with 78.7% downloading or streaming video online at least once per month.
- Driving eCommerce: 23% of online shoppers fall between the ages of 35 and 44, while only 18% of the US population is that age.
(Sources: Nielsen Claritas, 2015; Pew Research Center; eMarketer; Edison; BusinessInsider; Experian.)
Baby Boomers, adults age 50 to 69, make up 25 percent of the United States’ population, totaling 78 million people. In Chicago, the Boomer population is even higher, representing 32% of the DMA, or about 2.4 million people.
Boomers have historically changed every system they’ve encountered. The impact they’ll have on this current life-phase is still to be determined. With Baby Boomers’ scale and influence, they’re sure to challenge traditional notions of how this stage is experienced.
- Previous generations dealt with scarcity, while Boomers have experienced extensive social, cultural, economic and political changes.
- These experiences have created a mindset focused on living in the now, in contrast with their parents who focused more on the future.
- On their road to a “good life”, they experience challenges and struggles, but utilize a set of guiding values to make decisions and stay on track.
- Boomer values highly influence their purchasing decisions; they look for products that are in line with, or add to, their value system.
- Fastest growing online segment: Adults 50+ are the fastest growing demographic in social media and internet usage; they’re likely to be attracted to content based on function and utility.
- When it comes to messaging, be consistent: Boomers are increasingly engaging simultaneously across platforms. Your ad campaign should create a holistic customer experience.
(Sources: Iconoculture; Ad Age; Pew Research; Scarborough R2 2014, Chicago Market (defined as A50-69); USA Today/CBS; The Institute For The Future; Iconoculture; AARP.)
Nationally, Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic segment, expected to grow 167 percent from 2010 to 2050, compared to 42 percent for the total population. Chicago is home to 2.1 million Hispanics, more than 22% of the population—a number that has increased 43% since 2000.
There are an estimated 2.1 million Hispanics in Chicagoland; over the next five years, it is estimated that there will be large growth in Hispanic populations in the south and west suburbs. Hispanics in the US have a total spending power of more than $1.7 trillion, power which would make them the 16th largest economy in the world.
- Interpersonal Orientation: Some of the largest differences between Hispanics and non-Hispanics occur on questions related to family; Hispanic Americans are less likely than non-Hispanics to agree that children should leave their parents’ home when they complete their schooling.
- Time and Space Perception: Hispanic Americans are less likely to believe that they need a calendar to organize themselves; in fact, being late for social occasions bothers Hispanic Americans much less than it does their non-Hispanic counterparts.
- Spirituality: American Hispanics have a strong faith and believe that God plays an influential role in their lives, and are more likely to say that they rely on religion during times of trouble.
- Tech-Savvy: Hispanics are more likely to browse the web from a mobile device; 19% of tablets in this country are in hands of Latinos.
- Multi-Platform, Multi-Screen: As a population, American Hispanics over-index on mobile usage, are fans of all kinds of digital content and commonly multi-screen.