December 12, 2012

WBUR's Generation Stuck: The Struggling 20-Somethings

AMP Agency's 'Generation Stuck'? Methodology

AMP Agency wanted to take a deeper look at the impact the economy has had on the perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes of recent college graduates. Primary research was conducted with a focus on understanding how the economy may be impacting their educational, vocational, financial and personal lives.

In order to gauge the impact on males and females, ages 22 to 29 who have at least some college education, AMP gathered information from a broader audience in order to compare results across different generations. In total, AMP gathered responses from 516, 18-49 year old males and females that live in the United States. The survey was fielded online in September of 2012. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4.31 %.

Findings from this study contributed to Generation Stuck, a radio series and a blog produced by WBUR 90.9 FM, Boston's NPR News Station, which highlighted the life experiences of 20-somethings in wake of the economic recession.

AMP Agency's 'Generation Stuck'? Key Findings

AMP Agency's 'Generation Stuck'? research took a look at males and females, ages 22 to 29 who have at least some college education, to understand how their lives have been impacted by the economic downturn. AMP looked at aspects of their educational, vocational, financial and personal lives in order to understand how their life experience are different from younger and older generations.

This research gained insight into topics across a broad range of topics. Key areas of interest were employment, education, debt & finance, spending, relationships, obtaining 'the American Dream'? and the future. Below are key findings from each of the categories.

Overall, recent graduates are facing many short term financial challenges. They are not where they want to be in life, but they have the motivation and optimism to make their dreams come true. Their current spending may also be limited, but they have the goals of obtaining better, higher-paying jobs that will give them the lives (and spending limits!) they desire.

Employment:

  • Key Finding: Over half of 22 to 29 year old respondents report that they are overeducated and overqualified (57% and 56%, respectively) for their current positions.
  • Implication: Historically, there has always been a sense of entitlement among younger generations. Despite the economic downturn, recent college graduates still feel that they are entitled to have higher paying or more powerful jobs than what they currently hold. Aspirations among the segment remain high, and that's a good thing for employers!

Education:

  • Key Finding: The vast majority of 22 to 29 year old respondents believe that hard work (88%) and education (81%) lead to success.
  • Implication: Despite the challenges of obtaining a preferred job or earning the salary that they think they deserve, recent graduates are still proud of the hard work that they have put into themselves and their education. They remain optimistic on their views of themselves and what they may be able to achieve in the future.

Debt & Finance:

  • Key Finding: 78% of 22-29 year old respondents have student loan debt. Of those, 40% owe $40,000 or more. The majority feel 'burdened' and 'overwhelmed' by their debt (70% and 63%, respectfully).
  • Implication: Recent graduates will need to hone their financial responsibility skill set to avoid not only feeling worse about their debt, but also avoid ruining their credit at a young age. If many recent graduates end up hurting their credit, this could have negative future implications for the financial and housing markets.

Spending:

  • Key Finding: They key areas where 22-29 year old respondents are spending less money are clothing (79%), dining out (79%), and entertainment (77%).
  • Implication: Many manufacturers and retailers have suffered from the economic downturn, but the impact will be felt hardest among those that target younger consumers. Younger consumers typically have high discretionary funds, and the research shows they are watching every penny as they try to make smarter financial decisions.

Relationships:

  • Key Finding: The economy has had an overall positive impact on 22 to 29 year old respondents' relationships, with 40% citing a positive impact on their relationship with their parents, and 37% citing a positive impact on their relationship with friends and coworkers.
  • Implication: Recent graduates are living at home longer, as well as borrowing money or staying rent-free with friends and family. One benefit of this behavior is that they are growing closer to those people who are helping them through this financial crisis.

Obtaining 'The American Dream'?:

  • Key Finding: 70% of 22-29 year old respondents believe that they can attain the American Dream. 68% feel optimistic about their futures.
  • Implication: The economic crisis has had a major impact on the short term experiences of recent graduates, but their outlook on the future remains optimistic. They believe that their recent struggles will not hurt their ability to achieve their own definitions of achieving 'The American Dream'? (typically defined as financial stability, the ability to raise a family comfortably, and living without debt).

The Future:

  • Key Finding: 80% of 22 to 29 year old respondents agree that they will make enough money for themselves in the future, and 51% feel that their economic situation will end up better than that of their parent or guardian.
  • Implication: Although unsure of when their economic situation will improve, recent graduates have a positive self-image and a positive outlook on their future. They feel that they will be able to achieve the type of financial independence they desire. They are willing to put forth the hard work and effort it takes to get to where they want to be.

The findings are based on 158 surveys conducted with 22-29 year old males and females. This subset was a part of a larger research initiative that gathered responses from 516, 18-49 year old males and females across the United States. Margin of error for the 22-29 year old segment is +/-7.8% and the margin of error for the entire study is +/-4.8%.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, you can view more proprietary research on millennials here.

 

April 19, 2010

A Long-Term Relationship: From Runway to Crosswalk

I've been wearing stripes for about a year and a half now ' fully confident they are still on trend thanks to support from not only supermodels, but supermodelquins (à la Old Navy). The nautical-inspired trend went from runway to crosswalk with extreme speed and has lived far longer than the average fashion plate would have expected. In this long-term trend shopping basket you can also place oversized sunglasses, leggings, plaid (although color changes by season), gladiator sandals, neutrals, and even shorts with tights. Go no further than the bins of last year's spring clothes in your attic to freshen up your closet this season.

Here's my simple theory: the recession has turned fashion on its tousled head. Even the most fashion-driven consumers simply don't have the cash to be investing in a new wardrobe each season. They demand looks that are versatile and can transition from season to season with the addition of an accessory or two. So far, it seems what consumers today are demanding, is what fashion brands across the spectrum are providing.

So if you call yourself a fashionista, the next time you see a top, shoe, accessory, or bag on a woman and say to yourself, 'That's so two years ago,'? look down. You're probably wearing something she could say the same about!

August 24, 2009

Buy Now ' Save Later. A Media Strategy For The Recession

If a store suddenly called you to offer a 50-80% discount off their entire inventory would you say 'no way?'? It seems today that most consumers would be more likely to at least go to the store and stock up on the items you know you'll need. Now apply that same situation using media as the store and advertising as the inventory. The media companies are offering crazy discounts on advertising inventory ' not just the unsold placements but literally all inventory (print, online, OOH, broadcast, you name it). And the discounts are not simply based on reductions in circulation or viewers, but rather reductions against the base rate resulting in a significant increase in overall value.

Case in point -- we just negotiated a six city radio buy for a client (spend under $300K) which included a 'value-add'? premiere event sponsorship (client's mascot in the actual event programming). A year ago that event sponsorship alone would have sold for $80K. While we're good negotiators, in my 20+ years in this industry I haven't seen anything like it. So I have to scratch my head as I watch companies in all industries cutting back instead of taking advantage of the media sale of a lifetime.

Take a guess at what will happen the minute the media industry starts to see the light at the end of the tunnel? That's right, they will increase prices based on the simple laws of supply and demand. So if you are a company that knows your target audience and advertising objectives, why wouldn't you have your agency create next year's media plan right now to lock in lower rates? In other words, 'stock up'? on the media you know you'll need in the near future.

While I'm no CFO, I can tell you if the CMO of my company came to me and explained that by spending a small fee for planning media now, the marketing budget could decrease next year while allowing the company to market like the larger competitors, guess what I'd say?

So get planning'?¦..

July 23, 2009

The Great Equalizer

Will this recession finally remove the 'entitled'? stigma from the Millennial generation? Will they no longer feel that everything is their right and not a privilege? Perchance. Parental and personal lack of funding has removed a lot of the glitz and glam from the mainstays of culture. College students are fighting seasoned workers for entry-level jobs. Thoughts of a 'Super Sweet 16'? or a pimped-out __________ are now filled with realities of dollar-menu delights and settling for stock. This generation has very much been in the trenches of this economic crunch and are beginning to see what real-life can bring. The blissful economic times of years past brought fanciful dreaming that lead to the sense of entitlement that plagues this generation. Well, that's gone now and here to fill the void are bounced checks and layoffs. Welcome to the real world, kids. Honey, get the camera'?¦

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