January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment
New news. It used to be that 40% of women in married households were the primary breadwinner. Now, more than half of American women are the primary breadwinners in their households and many of them are worried about financial matters. Results from the Center for American Progress show that 63% of mothers were primary, sole or co-breadwinners for their families. Sounds like good news? Well, not so quick.
Sounds like good news? Well not so quick. The fact that women are bringing home a significant portion of their families’ incomes does not mean that there is gender parity in the workforce, nor does it mean that working parents and caregivers have the supports they need. Issues such as the gender wage gap and lack of policies such as universal paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and workplace flexibility still hold women back from reaching their full economic potential.
Families in the United States look different than they did a generation or two ago. Married couples today are less likely to have children than they were in the past, and single-parent households are also much more common. In 1974, a married couple headed 84% of all families with children, while in 2015, only about two-thirds, or 65.5%, of families with children were headed by a married couple. And from 1974 to 2015, the rate of families with children headed by a single mother nearly doubled—from 14.6% to 26.4%—while the rate of single fatherhood quadrupled from 1.4% to 8.1%.
February 10, 2016 § 1 Comment
Definitions of gender are becoming more blurred in today’s society as two-thirds of young adults say their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like.
In the past year, the Oxford Dictionary adopted the gender-neutral prefix Mx. and Seattle embraced gender-neutral public bathrooms, while Pantone singled out gender-neutral colors in its latest color-trend report. Transgender narratives are both in real life (Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox) and onscreen (Transparent, The Danish Girl). Culture has begun to shift away from binary notions of gender.
Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, is breaking down gender norms by sporting skirts for Louis Vuitton’s Spring womenswear collection. Louis Vuitton’s press release says Jaden “represents a generation that has assimilated the codes of true freedom; wearing a skirt comes as naturally to him as it would to a woman.”
Miley Cyrus has called herself gender fluid. She says “I didn’t want to be a boy. I kind of wanted to be nothing. I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: Being a girl isn’t what I hate, it’s the box that I get put into.” Eddie Redmayne introduces us anew to the gender identification struggle of artist Einar Wegener in the movie The Danish Girl.
The 2013 Cassandra Gender report found that 60% of people between the ages of 14 and 34 think gender lines are blurred and nearly two-thirds of the group say their generation is pushing the boundaries of what feminism and masculinity look like. The survey reveals that “gender is less of a definer of identity today than it was for prior generations. Rather than adhering to traditional gender roles, young people are interpreting what gender means to them personally.”
A January 2015 poll by media company Fusion found that among Americans aged 18–34, 50% believe gender exists on a spectrum, while just 46% believe there are only two genders.
What does it mean for marketers? Marketers can choose to acknowledge it and show this generation that they get it in their language and offerings.
Gender neutral, inclusive language has become more correct. People who do not identify as male or female prefer the pronoun “they,” rather than “he” or “she.” Rather than saying congressman, you would refer to a legislator. The “common man” becomes the average person. A policeman is now a police officer.
Unisex is a more prolific offering. Vivienne Westwood created a unisex collection for autumn/winter 2015–2016 as did Alexander Blanc, whose male and female models even swapped clothes on the runway during Cape Town Fashion Week in 2014. Harrods and Target groups toys by theme rather than male or female. Models like Elliott Sailors, Rain Dove, and Erika Linder are carrying out runway careers as menswear models.
Facebook now has 58 different gender descriptions including agender, androgyne, gender fluid, trans female, trans male, trans person, cisgender, and two-spirit . Some brands like Louis Vuitton are embracing transgender and androgynous models for their campaigns.
Even names are becoming less gender specific. Popular gender-neutral names in 2015 included Carson, Amari, Karter, Sawyer, River, Rory, and Phoenix.
November 9, 2015 § Leave a comment
Millennial foodies are the new “tastemakers”. What Millennials want in food today is what the rest of the world will soon be asking for. This savvy generation loves lots of informal celebrations, intense flavor profiles, ethnic cuisines, more natural foods and lots of snacks. Champagnes like Chandon are courting Millennials as an irreverent celebration alternative to their parents’ brands and are designing bottles to fit their occasions.
Restaurants are working hard to cater to millennials as their incomes and spending habits grow. Here are some important facts to understand.
- They eat out more often. 53% of the group goes out to eat once a week, compared with 43% for the general population. They eat out more often in all categories – quick serve, casual dining and fast casual. While they all eat fast food, millennials don’t want to admit to eating it. They are the least likely to recommend fast food to others. Fast casual is their favorite. Millennials compose 51% of fast casual customers.
- They want healthy food which means fresh, less processed and with fewer artificial ingredients.
- They want food that comes from socially responsible companies. Types of companies that they like include those who have principles around fair trade, sustainability and fair wages. Companies that exhibit these qualities include Starbucks and Chipolte.
- They like to support local restaurants. Again this means higher quality food, social ethics, ethnic foods and flavor profiles.
- They want convenience which translates to easy online ordering, stellar apps and rewards programs. Starbucks has scored big with their new app revamp for pick-up orders.
- Sriracha is on everything. It is stocked in 9% of American households and in 16% of those under 35.
- They celebrate a lot. According to CEB Iconoculture, Millennials are celebrating more than just the traditional holidays. Super Bowl Parties, May the 4th Be With You celebrations (for Star Wars fans), and single girls’ gatherings for Valentine’s Day are just a few ways Millennials are celebrating outside of traditional holidays.
- The line between snacks and meals is blurring. According to research by Barkley and BCG, Millennials tend to snack far more than older generations. It is very common for Millennials to regularly have snacks in the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night.
On the alcohol side of things, Chandon reports that 27 percent of adult millennials now choose beer as their favorite alcoholic drink and a lot of that beer is craft beer. But beer consumption is down from 33 percent in 2012, leaving room for other products including vodkas, wines and sparkling wines. Millennials like craft brands and made-for-me brands. Chandon has targeted Millennials with its “celebrate everyday” strategy, moving sparkling wines from only end of year special occasions to everyday occasions. Since Chandon is technically not Champagne since it is from Napa Valley, the wine has become Americanized. Chandon has been able to reimagine how sparkling wine can be consumed—and by whom. Chandon typically sells for a lower price point as well.
But price alone is not enough to lure young adults. They seek an experience. Chandon has given the classic champagne bottle a trendy makeover and creates seasonal designs for its bottles. Last year Chandon put out three limited-edition bottles that are scrawled with the phrases “The Party Starts Here,” “Bring on the Fun,” and “I am the After Party.” Ideally, consumers can pick out the bottle that matches their personality. Their marketing also matches this new look with a heavy dependence on social media using image heavy social platforms like Instagram.
“Any marketer will tell you that it is very difficult to change consumer behavior,” Cristian Yanez, VP of Estate and Wines at Moet Hennessy USA, Chandon’s parent company says. “But with sparkling wine, we’ve found that a simple approach works best. I know it sounds a bit basic, but just giving people another excuse to drink a bottle of sparkling wine is sometimes all we need to do.”
July 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
What happened to fashion’s love affair with youth? Are we finally acknowledging the beauty of older women? There seems to be a new attitude towards style at any age. Cher is the latest in a string of new celebrity endorsers for brands like Marc Jacobs that include interesting older women in their ads like 93-year-old Iris Apfel, 69-year-old Helen Mirren, 65-year-old Jessica Lange, and 63-year-old Angelica Huston. It seems that brands are embracing the buying power of older women.
Kate Spade featured 93-year-old legend Iris Apfel in her recent fashion campaign. Fashion house Celine launched a flare with their Spring 2015 campaign using 80-year old author Joan Didion. Helen Mirren, 69, and Twiggy, 65, are brand ambassadors for L’Oreal. Catherine Deneuve, 71, models for Louis Vuitton, Jessica Lange, 65, for Marc Jacobs and Angelica Huston, 63, for Gap.
Millennials seem to have a fascination not only with vintage clothes but with the older woman and her style. My daughter introduced me to the blog and documentary Advanced Style that has become a bit of a phenom among younger women. The work focuses on sartorially adventurous women who are fashion plates of a certain age.
Why are major brands betting on these faces? There is a universal acknowledgement that wealthier older women are more likely to purchase high-end goods. Just like Baby Boomers have changed culture at every age, they continue to have an impact as they enter their older years. Baby boomers control more than 80% of all financial assets and account for as much as 60% of consumer spending. Brands are embracing the buying power of older women. Consumers of a certain age like to see the “best” of their generation and aspire to look as good as Helen Mirren or Jessica Lange.
The 55+ set have their place in all types of shopping including the television shopping channels. Iris Apfel has her own line of jewelry on HSN, Iman has her unique fashion line on HSN and Joan Rivers, even after death, continues to have a presence on QVC. Not surprising, HSN reports their average buyer is someone who knows what she wants. A lot of the women who are frequenting these television retailers are professional women, buying while they’re at work, browsing online at the office. QVC and HSN shoppers are more affluent consumers, and they are also repeat buyers. Most of them buy about ten times a year, so they’re loyal. Our postman told my husband that once a QVC package lands on a doorstep, there are many to follow.
While brands may not exclusively rely on older style mavens, some reported they are instituting a multi-generational approach, while they also embrace a multi-size approach.
Age seems to be relative these days. It’s more about how we feel than our chronological age. Maybe we are now accepting age as a sign of confidence and self-assuredness. It is a good thing to have matured into an interesting and beautiful being.
December 16, 2014 § 1 Comment
There is a new study reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy identifying a rising group of charitable donors. The study finds “Millennial and Generation X women who are single and unaffiliated with a religion give two-and-a-half times more money to charity than their older, similarly secular counterparts, according to the report, which looked exclusively at unmarried donors. Their giving also doubles that of peers who have loose ties to a religion.”
For many years, it has been reported that people of faith gave more than unchurched individuals, so this report indicates that intensity of faith may not be as strong an indicator of giving as previously thought.
It seems that young single women may be bucking the trend, but there may be other factors at play as well. Young single women may represent a growing group of highly educated, high income women who have decided to defer marriage. This group of Single Indies represent some 28 million women, or one out of three adult women, who spend around $1 trillion each year. They may have more disposable income and be predisposed to charitable interests.
The report also cites that one-third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation.
Clearly, for non-profits, this group of younger women represent an opportunity for both giving and volunteer activities. Marketing should recognize and speak to this power group.
October 6, 2014 § 3 Comments
My daughter Katie often sends me pictures of her fabulous vintage finds like a folkloric skirt from the 50s or a cocktail dress from the 60s. She is one of many milliennials regularly frequenting shops that specialize in vintage, retro and thrift clothing.
One of the shops Shareen Vintage of Los Angeles describes their vintage wonderland as the creative center of a secret society of women who love to be at the cutting edge of fashion trends. In their store, clothing is divided by decades, starting in the 1920s through the 1990s, providing a living retrospect to fashion. Another store Re-mix Classic Vintage Footwear actually started out selling vintage shoes, but when demand outpaced their stock, they began having their own 20s – 50s vintage designs manufactured for women demanding more of the vintage looks.
Millennials have embraced Thrift Style, a fashion movement that incorporates several trends with their desire to be an individual. Research by Ypulse shows that 36% of Millennials find thrift shopping cool and 56% of Millennials say that thrift shopping is a great way to find cheap and unique clothes.
Six Key Trends Shaping Millennial Shopping
1. The end of conspicuous branding and the rise of personal style. Some 55% of people between 13 and 34 say they don’t follow trends. Millennials want to stand out and prize individualism over “fitting in.” With access to global stores like Abercrombie and Fitch are having problems enticing millennials because their fashions are seen as ubiquitous and too high priced for their taste. A big logo is no longer a coveted status symbol. Finding something completely original is the goal of trendsetters today. A thrift store find is both unique and rare. Even celebrities have contributed to the vintage culture by wearing vintage couture to big events like the Oscars and Grammys.
2. Saving money is cool. There is no surprise that 60% of millennials worldwide feel personally influenced by the economic crisis. So the ability to save money and find a personl look are added bonuses of thrift shopping. Shoppers pride themselves on smart finds at great prices. In fact, because of the durability of the items, they are actually seen as an investment in higher quality goods.
3. Sustainability. There is a decided movement against the “disposable culture” of throwaway plastic bags and planned obsolescence of electronics. Shoppers don’t really care if their retail purchases are over-wrapped or put into paper or plastic for transport. They are fine with foregoing some of the traditional trappings of the retail environment. Vintage items are often seen as being constructed better and made out of high quality fabrics. And the ability to recycle things of the past helps cutdown on their personal footprint in society.
4. Nostalgia for better times. In an unconscious way, milllennials are drawn to simpler times. Those who lived during the first Strawberry Shortcake period remember it with fondness and positive memories. For those who did not experience the 50s and 60s, the vintage look recalls a time of stability and lack of stress. Here in Nashville you can buy and experience a little slice of Grand Ole Opry history by just shopping at Katy’s Western Wear.
5. Personalization and DIY. Personal style means personalization. And, influenced by programming such as Project Runway, millennials turn to online sites such as Etsy and eBay for fun finds. These shoppers and designers can express their own creativity by reworking clothes with sewing, knitting, embellishing and dying their finds. Some 22% of Millennials say they often modify, cut up or embellish their clothing.
6. Purchases with a Purpose. Thrift stores are getting a millennial makeover to appeal to young shoppers who like to shop with a purpose. The idea that the YWCA can help women, Goodwill trains disadvantaged for retail jobs or ThriftSmart actually gives their proceeds to real charities is an appealing proposition to millennials who want to make a difference in the world around them.
Retailers and marketers alike need to understand the way Millennials shop and how best to appeal to their interests.
September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
Naming Gen Edge
A Guest Post by Amy Lynch
Recently demographers and gen theorists documented a clear shift–new behaviors and attitudes that signaled the start of a new generation. Technology plays a role here. For people 19 and under, social media and multi-tasking on five screens at once are the norm. In fact, many of them were read “Goodnight iPad” rather than “Goodnight Moon” at bedtime.
Now the question: what to call this new group? Names abound–Homelanders, iGen, Gen Z–but the name that sticks seems to be Gen Edge. Here’s why.
Each generation is born into a time of stability and belonging, a time of idealism and awakening, or into a period of skepticism and instability. And then (drum roll) once every 100 years or so a generation is born into a world that sees on the edge of collapse. Economically, socially, politically and technologically, things are changing so quickly that the whole era feels unpredictable, risky, edgy.
Of necessity, a generation of kids who grow up on the constant edge of change become edgy themselves. Resourceful and resilient, they find their way through minefields of uncertainty and figure out new ways of making things work.
Parenting comes into the mix as well. Today’s kids are being raised by Gen X parents who have nurtured without coddling. Unlike Millennials, Gen Edge has not been overprotected. They’ve known about adult problems, like unemployment and bills to pay, from early on. So they navigate the work with savvy beyond their years. Realists to the core, they have an edge. Gen Edge just fits.
Amy Lynch is president of Generational Edge, helping companies move beyond generational awareness to generational strategies that increase innovation, engagement and sales. She has talked with groups as diverse as MTV, Boeing, Johnson and Johnson, and the Staff of the US Senate.