How Luxury Brands Are Marketing to Young Consumers

Multiple luxury brands are majorly shifting strategies to appeal to young consumers, who don’t automatically value them because of their history…

Luxury brands are looking towards the future by focusing in on Millennials. The generation has the potential to be the largest spending group in history, and by 2020 the oldest Millennials will be entering their peak earning years. But they’re facing an uphill battle with these young consumers, who don’t automatically think a high-end heritage brand is cool because it has a high price tag. According to Ypulse’s research, the majority of 13-33-year-olds say that they are not loyal to fashion brands and 83% say they don’t care what brand an item of clothing is, as long as they like it. We’ve also found that Millennials and teens are more drawn to the words "High Quality" and "Durable" when purchasing items and are not as impressed when items are described as "Exclusive" or "Luxury." The definition of luxury has shifted for young consumers, who aren’t as likely to value physical belongings, and often see conspicuous consumption as wasteful or unnecessary.

Luxury brands are shifting to cater to the generation who values “über-luxe” travel over costly jewelry, shoes, and bags. Brands are turning to new influencers—from the Instagram-famous to video game characters— to form relationships with Millennials before they become the core luxury demographic. Here’s a rundown of how some of the biggest names in the business making major changes to appeal to young consumers today:

Tiffany: Embracing Digital Marketing

Millennials aren’t being charmed by Tiffany’s “old world luxury.” The luxury jewelry brand has experienced decreasing sales over the past six straight quarters, recently seeing its sharpest decline since 2009. Millennials’ lack of interest…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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