JWT’s AnxietyIndex is designed as a place to discuss how brands and consumers are responding to the global recession. With daily content updates, AnxietyIndex.com includes contributions from around JWT’s network, offering a truly global perspective.
The traditional Indian consumer is a touch it, smell it, feel it, wear it, think about it, discuss it and then finally buy it kind of person. Hence, online purchase calls for a huge behavioral change. In addition, these hesitations aren’t without merit, as the purchase experience can be a real nightmare. Online portals have tried to reassure consumers by offering everything from cash-on-delivery payments to liberal return policies (which end up more valuable in theory than practice as refunds are slow to arrive), but most are pretty unprofessional, damaging overall perception of the category.
An exception is Flipkart.com, which manages to do a decent job. The e-commerce portal is trying to speed up acceptance of online shopping with a series of commercials that aim to educate hesitant consumers about the ease of shopping on the site. The spots feature children acting like adults—the idea is that no one trusts you like children—and discussing how various things can be easily bought from Flipkart. The ads put a little twist on the classic format of consumer conversations.
In this spot, a grandfather and grandson are opening up a package. A curious father inquires about it, learning that it’s a new mobile for grandfather from Flipkart. When the father skeptically bursts out “Online shopping!” the son explains just how simple the process is. “But without seeing? … Just seeing one photo?” interjects the dad. His wife, who’s been silently toying around on her computer, notes, “Before marriage, all I saw was your photo only.” Everyone giggles at the father’s close-minded attitude. The ads end with the tagline, “Shopping ka naya address” (“New address for shopping”).
Earlier this year, we conducted a survey on the recession and its impact on the Millennial Generation. As you may remember, we found that while there is a pervasive sense of resentfulness among Millennials, who feel they’ve been dealt an unfair blow because of the recession, they are finding advantage in adversity. A good portion of twentysomethings, for instance, see this as a market for first-time home buyers and entrepreneurs.
A story in yesterday’s USA Today, which highlights some of the results from our AnxietyIndex survey, illustrates how teens and twentysomethings across the U.S. are responding to the recession, whether leading a simpler life, looking for end-of-season sales instead of shopping constantly, or starting their own businesses.
Source: JWT survey in February of 243 people age 18-29 (among 1,065 Americans surveyed)
The recession is clearly shifting the conversation from Millennials’ narcissism and sense of entitlement to their ingenuity; from their conspicuous consumption to their conscious and creative consumerism, where cheap is chic, bargain-hunting begets bragging rights and doing more with less carries greater badge value than the latest It bag or logo-laden attire.
Brands can get behind Millennials by subtly acknowledging their tough situation and helping them navigate the recession with easy-to-understand guidance. They can also tap into the aspirations and optimism of these young adults, whose eyes are open to all opportunities that may present themselves during this rough patch. A good way to build confidence is through hope—giving young consumers a chance to be proactive and plan practically for their future.
To download our study on the recession and its impact on the Millennial Generation, click here.
While Canadian youth are concerned about the recession and how it affects them, they are less anxious than American and British youth, according to The Recession and Its Impact on the Youth Market. If forced to cut their spending, however, many say they would be willing to give up or trade down various amenities—alcohol consumption, gym membership, eating out, etc.—but, as with youth in most other countries JWT surveyed, they would be deeply reluctant to give up the tools that keep them connected: their Internet connection and cell phone.
Interestingly, while Canadian youth feel anxious and even resentful that current economic conditions unfairly burden their generation, many see opportunities for themselves in the downturn (e.g., returning to school, being able to afford a house, starting their own business). They have less to lose than older, more established cohorts, and perhaps they’re simply trying to feel as though they have control over their own destiny.
Brazilian teenagers are more anxious than their parents imagine; it seems that while adults have lived through other economic crises and can put this one in context, teens see it in more simplistic terms. Among adults, the anxiety level is on par with that of other countries studied—but Brazilians are unique in that their primary concerns are not focused on economic issues but rather on the country’s violence, crime and corruption.
Having grown up during a period of unprecedented growth, young British adults have become accustomed to having what they want and having it now. As they experience recession for the first time, the dual prospects of struggling to find or keep a job and dwindling disposable income have come as a shock. More than any other age group, they are feeling resentful about the ways in which the recession is affecting their generation. To keep young Britons spending, brands will have to compete more fiercely than ever, offering more for less at a time when “Spoiled Britain” can no longer afford to have it all.
These are among our conclusions from our U.K. AnxietyIndex study “The Recession and Its Impact on the Youth Market.” You can download it from our Trends and Research page.
JWT is at the forefront of research on teens and twentysomethings (the cohort that’s often referred to as the Millennial generation or Gen Y). For our most recent study, AnxietyIndex: The Recession and Its Impact on the Youth Market, we surveyed hundreds of twentysomethings and teenagers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.
One of the more interesting findings is that while twentysomethings are resentful about how the recession is impacting their generation, many see an upside to it. As I note on The Huffington Post, while today’s twentysomethings have every right to be angry and disappointed, they’re not letting resentment get the best of them. Their optimism and self-reliance stand in defiance of the depressing headlines.