Posts tagged with "Millennials"

Cheap thrills: Dollar General’s new $5 beauty brand is going viral

September 10, 2019

Fashionistas, take note: There’s a new brand in the beauty business—and it’s not sold at swanky cosmetics counters for big bucks, or at drugstores, either.

Launched last spring, Dollar General’s humble, $5-and-under Believe Beauty cosmetics line is available at the chain’s 15,000 locations nationwide—and it has gone viral, thanks to the raves of social media beauty bloggers.

According to a report by CNN, Dollar General partnered with a beauty manufacturer on the private-label line of lipsticks, eye shadows, foundations, nail polishes, and skin care essentials; and is giving it prime real estate at stores: It’s displaying the 150-product collection in dedicated sections at the end of store aisles, making it easy for customers to find.

The aspirational brand is “an important part of our strategy,” CEO Todd Vasos told the network news outlet.

Dollar General executives say they developed the brand to bolster the company’s hold on existing customers and improve its thin profit margins. Dollar General also hopes to draw Millennials with the brand. Millennials probably won’t post online about snacks or a new mop they bought at Dollar General, but they love showing off their new makeup online, CNN notes.

Dozens of Believe reviews on by beauty vloggers on YouTube already have racked up hundreds of thousands of page views. One 16-minute YouTube review from a beauty vlogger has 125,000 views. Instagram is flooded with more than 3,000 posts using “#believebeauty.”

All that social media attention means free advertising for Dollar General. It boosts the company’s image with younger shoppers and is helping lift the dollar-store empire.

“People like those kind of videos because it’s something different,” Taylor Horn, a blogger who reviewed Believe on her YouTube channel, told CNN Business. Her channel has more than 750,000 followers.

“It’s cool when lines like Believe Beauty launch, where it’s accessible,” she said. “I think it’s more achievable and the things that your everyday consumer can afford.”

Dollar General is following a similar strategy to Walgreens, Target, Zara, Forever 21 and even 7-Eleven, CNN points out. These companies have all added their own in-house cosmetics lines in recent years.

Research contact: @CNN

The top ten candy treats at Sweets & Snacks Expo

June 3, 2019

Millennials are being credited for some of the most talked about trends at Sweets & Snacks Expo, May 21-23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, The Chicago Tribune’s Louisa Chu reports.

She tells us that the buzziest products at the event—hosted by the National Confectioners Association and formerly known as the Candy Show—generated conversations ranging from multisensorial experiences, to better-for-you shareables, to Millennial pink chocolate.

The winner of the Best in Show Award for Innovation was the Trolli Sour Crunchy Crawlers by Ferrara Candy, made in Bellwood, west of Chicago.  Look for the colorful watermelon and strawberry, orange and raspberry, plus cherry and lemon flavor combinations in stores this December.

 “The Sour Crunchy Crawlers are a take on our traditional Sour Brite Crawlers, but we added a texture differential with the crunchy coating,” said Tessa Porter, director of Research and Development for the company. Translation? They’re crunchy coated candy shells on the outside and gummy on the inside, explained Porter.

Filling out the rest of the top ten, according to the Tribune’s Chu, are the following:

  • Ruby chocolate by Barry Callebaut: This pink chocolate tastes exactly like berries infused into white chocolate, but it’s not. Billed as the new fourth chocolate (after white, milk, and dark), ruby chocolate is made from ruby cocoa beans through processing created by Barry Callebaut of Zurich, Switzerland. It’s been available to professionals for a few years—and is, perhaps, best-known to consumers in the form of Kit Kats made in Asia. The product is launching widely soon.
  • Ketchup with mustard and pickle potato chips by Luke’s Organic: These are crunchy kettle chips with all the flavors of a McDonald’s hamburger. Inspired by Canadian ketchup potato chips, but thoroughly American, this snack was a sleeper hit at the show. Look for it in stores later this month.
  • Smokehouse sausage sticks by Bridgford Foods: These snappy, spicy meat snacks are available in three flavors: original, teriyaki, and hot ‘n’ spicy.
  • Cacao selection chocolate by Ritter Sport: The German chocolate company with a cult following has introduced single-origin chocolate bars, in this case each one made with cacao beans from one specific country: silky smooth dark milk from Ghana, a fine dark from Nicaragua, and an intense dark from Peru. Plus, new to this country, look for the lovely summer seasonal strawberry mousse and a year-round dark chocolate with almond and orange.
  • Extreme BeanBoozled jelly beans by Jelly Belly: Just the “bad” flavors in one box. Now, instead of wondering if you’re getting peach or barf, there’s just the latter; plus booger, canned dog food, dead fish, dirty dishwater, rotten egg, skunk spray, stinky socks, spoiled milk and stink bug.
  • Atomz by Toxic Waste Candy: Are Millennials killing sour candy? The character known as Professor Sauernoggin explained that the small crisp and chewy balls are less extreme than their so-called “hazardously sour” classic candies, packaged in cute little leaking toxic waste barrels. Possibly to appeal to an aging palate?
  • Crunchy Strawberry Pocky by Glico: Pocky fans should prepare for a new flavor this summer with these skinny biscuits dipped in tart and creamy strawberry coating and bits of real strawberry. What seems to be freeze-dried bits of fruit add a nice tart flavor and texture, that is if collectors can bear to open their boxes.
  • Root Beer Float Peeps by Just Born: Ice cream soda in a marshmallow. This flavor was available as a limited edition this Easter, but only at Kroger stores. Next year, you can find it everywhere.
  • Kit Kat Mint + Dark Chocolate Duos: In response to Kit Kat culture—primarily in Japan, where dozens of flavors, including green tea can be found year-round and seasonal flavors like cherry blossom sell out immediately—we’re finally getting one of our own. The pale, mint green cream over dark chocolate layers looks exciting, but tastes familiar.

Research contact: @louisachu

Before entering 2020 race, Biden ruminates over naming Abrams as running mate

March 22, 2019

He’s an elder statesman at a time when Millennials will be a major factor in winning the popular vote. Therefore, advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden, age 76, reportedly are considering adding somebody less “seasoned” to the ticket before he announces his run for the presidency in 2020.

Indeed, Axios reported on Thursday that Biden’s aides are considering pairing him with Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is only age 45 and is a dynamic rising star in the Democratic party.

Although Abrams ultimately lost to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 state gubernatorial race—edged out by fewer than 55,000 votes—she won support across America and has maintained a national profile since the midterm elections.

In fact, she was chosen by the party to deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February.

According to Axios, Biden’s staff currently is calculating the political consequences of such an announcement. Would it reassure the U.S. electorate about the vitality of the candidacy—or would it be perceived as a cynical political ploy? Could it even expose Biden to criticism that he is overlooking his fellow Democratic candidates as possible VPs?

The former vice president’s office declined to comment to Axios.

The Hill reported on March 21 that Biden and Abrams had met earlier in the month, as rumors swirled of both candidates entering the race. However, Abrams also has met with a number of other 2020 Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, (Massachusetts ), Kamala Harris (California) and Cory Booker (New Jersey).

Based on the same news story, Abrams said earlier this month that under a previous career plan, 2028 had been the earliest she would consider a run for president. She quickly added that a run in 2020 is “definitely on the table.”

Research contact: @axios

Suit yourselves: Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code

March 6, 21019

Goldman Sachs Group —one of the leading investment banking firms worldwide, known for its buttoned-up, bespoke culture—announced on March 5 that it is relaxing the dress code for all of its employees, Reuters reported.

The firm, which has been in business since 1869, told employees to “suit themselves” in an internal memo to its 36,000 employees  outlining the new “firmwide flexible dress code.”

Management said the shift was due to “the changing nature of workplaces generally in favor of a more casual environment.”

The memo was signed by CEO David Solomon, a former investment banker who took the role in October;along with CFO Stephen Scherr and COO John Waldron.

Historically known as a white-shoe investment bank, Goldman Sachs traditionally required formal business attire. But since 2017, the bank began relaxing its dress code for employees in the technology division and other new digital businesses. This created a divide in the workforce as clear as denim versus pinstripes.

Like other Wall Street banks, Goldman has been competing to secure the best employees. Large technology firms and hedge funds often have more relaxed offices and perks. What’s more, over 75% of Goldman employees are members of the Millennial or Gen Z generations—people born after 1981.

“All of us know what is and is not appropriate for the workplace,” the memo reads—also reminding employees to dress “in a manner that is consistent” with clients’ expectations. “Of course, casual dress is not appropriate every day and for every interaction and we trust you will consistently exercise good judgment in this regard.”

Research contact: @eadilts

Made to order: Why we personalize our purchases

June 15, 2018

Do you like using products that have a personal touch, in terms of color, design, initials, or even taste? Just three years ago, only 17% of U.S. consumers ever had purchased a personalized sneaker, technology product, meal, vacation, or household appliance. However, YouGov reports that, the so-called “personalization economy” has experienced a major increase in demand. Today, at least one in four Americans (26%) say that they have added a personal touch to a product, either for themselves or someone else.

Why personalize? According to the researchers, there are five major reasons why consumers take this approach—among them:

  1. To design a product to meet a specific need (types of materials, shape, size, duration);
  2. To identify a product as “belonging to me;”
  3. To design something just for fun;
  4. To feel pride in creating/designing something;
  5. To demonstrate creativity; or
  6. To stand out from other people.

Among those who create their own unique products, sneakers (29%) and other forms of apparel are tops for personalization, tied by food and beverages (29%); and followed by technology products (27%), vacation and travel experiences (25%), and household goods (22%).

What’s more, personalizers can be identified by their age and personality traits. They are generally younger (40% Millennials), highly educated (30%), and have disposable income to spend (31%). Indeed, nearly half of this group (46%) say that they would be willing to pay more for an individualized product; which enables brands to market to them at a premium.

In addition, most personalizers could be described as social, outgoing, and optimistic, according to YouGov.

Data on the online behaviors of this particular consumer segment is rich, YouGov says. It demonstrates that personalizers aren’t simply tech-savvy—they strive to be early adopters of technology. That may explain why they’re more likely to be a part of the ever-growing live streaming audience. Live streaming may not be new, but fueled by social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, and Twitch, the format has been reinvigorated by a surge of mobile users. Personalizers tend to use their smartphones (38%) most of all of their devices and a majority (62%) say they watch live streams.

Given that personalizers tend to be social and that the heart of a live streaming channel is its community, the two seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s also an interactive platform that allows brands to get immediate, real-time data about their viewers.

What’s more, compared to people who have never done so, personalizers are more likely to go to movie theaters, listen to online radio, or play games on a console. A multi-platform approach may prove the best way to stay connected with these digital natives.

Finally, the researchers believe, the personalization economy will continue to grow and shape what consumers expect from products and services. Whether a brand already offers personalization or is still testing the waters, looking to what makes the consumer tick is the key.

From an opportunity perspective, they say, brands can get closer to their customers by using personalization as a transformative tool—one that turns a product into a shared experience using a brand’s resources and consumer’s sense of identity.

Research contact: ted.marzilli@yougov.com

How does your garden grow?

June 6, 2018

Americans are not afraid to get their hands dirty: This year, U.S. gardeners reported spending a record $47.8 billion on lawn and garden retail sales, the highest ever, with a record average household spend of $503—up nearly $100 over 2017, based on the findings of the 2018 U.S. National Gardening Survey.

What’s more, there are nearly 200,000 participating members from coast to coast in the National Garden Clubs—with a club in every state and about 60 more affiliated organizations.

The latest research on American gardening, conducted on behalf of Garden Research by Research Now/SSI, finds that the proportion of older gardeners is holding steady (35%) , but that  more Millennials than ever before—those between the ages of 18 and 34—are digging in, too. “From small beginnings with a succulent here and a houseplant there, the under-35s are now truly engaged in the full range of gardening activities.” says industry analyst Ian Baldwin.

Aside from gardening equipment, plants, and fertilizers, what is the younger generation of gardeners buying? Knowledge. Rather than getting glossy, coffee-table books, many of these gardeners are glomming on to gardening apps and advice from gardening websites.

Also trending this year? Container gardening and landscaping are setting new highs in sales. “More and more consumers are choosing not to dig holes in their leisure time. If they have the finances, they are investing in raised beds,” says Baldwin.

Indoor gardening also is making a big comeback, with 30% of all households buying at least one houseplant. Baldwin says the movement hearkens back to the ‘190’s and 1980s, “when no home was complete without various sizes and shapes of non-flowering plants in pots or macramé hangers, acting as cheap room dividers.”

And, for the first time this year, the survey offered information on cannabis gardening to the 33 million U.S. heads of households (27%) who say that it should be legal to grow for personal use, and to the 15% of households (19 million) who say they would grow cannabis if it were legal to do so. This is of special interest, the researchers noted, to the males between the ages of 18 and 34 who reported increased participation in lawn and garden activities (from 23% in 2016 to 27% in 2017).

Finally, each state seems to have a favorite when it comes to ‘the most popular planted flower”: In Alabama, for example, pansies are the go-to bloom, with sales of $3.8 million—and are usually the first annuals to bloom (The official state flower is the camellia.) In Alaska, it’s geraniums; in Colorado, petunias; and in Hawaii, begonias.

However, nationwide, the most popular flower to grow–—based on findings of a poll of 30,000 U.S. gardeners by Bombay Outdoors— is the rose; followed by zinnias, lilacs, and irises.

Research contact: info-ngs@gardenresearch.com

Secret shame: When FOMO drives you into debt

April 10, 2018

Do you spend in response to social pressure or FOMO (fear of missing out)? Whether it is the cost of an after-work drink, a new outfit for a party, tickets to a concert, the latest smartphone, or an Uber ride, we all ante up in order to be “included” in the experiences of our closest groups of friends.

In fact, nearly 40% of Millennials have spent money they don’t have and gone into debt to keep up with their peers, based on findings of a poll of 1,045 U.S. adults conducted by Credit Karma/Qualtrics.

What’s more, they’re afraid to admit it.

When a friend suggests doing something they can’t afford, 27% of Millennials feel uncomfortable saying “no.” And out of the 39% of Millennials who’ve gone into debt to keep up with their friends, nearly three-quarters (73%) have kept it a secret.

What they may not realize is that some of their friends may feel the same way. Two-thirds of Millennials regret spending more on social situations than they had planned, and one-third (36%) doubt they’ll be able to sustain this lifestyle for another year without going into debt.

This is especially concerning given that Millennial Credit Karma members in the United States each already have $46,713 in debt on average. 

Specifically, what do Millennials spend on because they’re afraid to miss out?

  • Going out with friends and having a good time is one of the top types of FOMO spending, with nearly 60% buying food, while 33% buy alcohol.;
  • Fully 21% of Millennials admit they feel pressured to spend money they don’t have for parties or nightlife.
  • Four out of 10 Millennials who overspent to keep up with their friends made travel purchases. That could include a two-week vacation, a weekend trip with their significant other or a trip to attend a friend’s wedding.
  • One-quarter of Millennials who have spent too much to keep up with their friends purchased tickets to a music event, while 17 percent attended a sporting event.

But it’s not all about experiences. Many M feel pressured to buy items such as clothes (41%), electronics (26%), jewelry (18%) and cars (16%) even when they can’t afford them.

However, there is some good news: Credit Karma found that more than half of respondents seemed to have their FOMO spending habits under control. Fifty-three percent of Millennials say they make purchases they can’t afford to keep up with their friends no more than once a year, while 25% of respondents say they never make FOMO purchases.

But there’s room for improvement: 25% of Millennials who have a FOMO spend several times each year, while 21% of respondents admit to making these purchases at least once a month.

Credit Karma also looked at how much young Americans typically spend each weekend when they’re hanging out with their friends: Most (69%) spend $100 or less over a typical weekend; while 15% spend between $101 and $250; 16, more than $250; and 7%, more than $500.

These responses don’t account for differences in the cost of living across the country. So while $100 might be a lot to spend in some areas, it doesn’t go as far in other places.

According to Expatistan’s cost of living index, a fancy dinner for two would cost $119 in New York City compared to only $74 in St. Louis. And a cocktail out on the town would cost $16 in New York City but only $8 in St. Louis.

Finally, Credit Karma found that 78% of Millennials who responded have a budget, but 20% of them go over their budget on a monthly basis to keep up with their friends.

Research contact: @Greg-Lull

More adults now share their homes with Millennial children and parents

February 2, 2018

You can go home again. And many American families are embracing that reality—as the nation harks back to a time when several generations lived under one roof. U.S. adults are increasingly sharing a home with other adults with whom they are not romantically involved, based on poll results released by Pew Research Center on January 31.

This arrangement, known as “doubling up” or” shared living,” regained acceptance during the Great Recession (2007-2009) and, nearly a decade later, the trend has picked up once again, according to the researchers.

While the rise in shared living during and immediately after the recession was attributed in large part to the growing number of Millennials who had been forced to move back in with their parents, the longer-term increase has been partially driven by a different phenomenon— parents moving in with their adult children.

In 2017, nearly 79 million adults (31.9% of the adult population) lived in a shared household—that is, a household with at least one “extra adult” who is not the household head, the spouse or the unmarried partner of the head, or an 18- to 24-year-old student.

Those who reside in a shared household include about 25 million adults who own or rent the home. An additional 10 million adults are the spouse or unmarried partner of the head of the household. Another 40 million, or 16% of all adults, are the “extra adult”—not necessarily an immediate relative— in the shared household. This share living in someone else’s household is up from 14% in 1995, Pew reports.

Other examples of extra adults are a sibling living in the home of a brother or sister; or a roommate.

Regardless of their relationship to the household head, young adults are more likely than middle-aged or older adults to live in someone else’s household:

  • Among those younger than 35, 30% were the extra adult in someone else’s household in 2017—up from 26% in 1995.
  • Among 35- to 54-year-olds, 12% were living in someone else’s household, an increase from 9% in 1995.
  • Among 55- to 64-year-olds, 10% were the extra adult, up from 6% in 1995.

The only adult group that isn’t more likely than before to live in another adult’s household is those ages 75 and older (10% in both years).

As a result of this overall trend, the average number of adults per household has not declined since 1995 and, consequently, the number of households per adult has not increased.

Finally, a caveat: The rise in shared living is likely not simply a response to rising housing costs and weak incomes. People of color are much more likely than white adults to be doubled up, mirroring their greater propensity to live in multi-generational households.

Research contact: info@pewresearch.org

Millennials are ‘cutting’ the cheese (and the milk)

December 18, 2017

Dairy-free diets soon may become the dominant “free-from” trend among Millennials, Adelie Foods UK reported in Talking Retail on December 14.

The company conducted a survey of 16- to 30-year-olds recently—finding that 19% of respondents have bought or eaten dairy substitutes during the past six months, with another 16% choosing lactose-free products.

For the first time, this figure nearly ties the 22% of Millennials who opt for gluten-free products when shopping.

The survey also found that adopting a “free-from” diet is becoming a more prevalent lifestyle choice, with only 13% of those who said they regularly eat this way doing so because of a medical condition.

John Want, Marketing director at Adelie Foods, said: “It’s clear food outlets need to get value and service right, but once they do, and with competition in the food-to-go sector ever-increasing, brands need to ensure we respond to the changes in Millennial eating habits, particularly the growing proportion who are opting for dairy-free options.

“Creating quality products with premium dairy-free ingredients that meet the same high standards in taste and visual appeal as our core range is a key innovation area for us at Adelie Foods. With Millennials set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020, it’s vital for food outlets to get their offer right for them.”

Research contact: @adeliefoods (+44-0-208-571-1967)

65% of young Americans want Democratic control of Congress

December 6, 2017

Two-thirds of young Americans (67%) are more fearful than hopeful about America’s future, based on findings of a national poll released on December 5 by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School.

Indeed, less than one year before the U.S. 2018 midterm elections, the poll of 2,037 likely young American voters (ages 18 through 29) found a preference for Democratic control of Congress by a margin of 2:1, or  65% to 33%.

The Fall 2017 poll also found that U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval ratings continue to decline amid heightened concern about the state of race relations in the country and increased support for stricter gun control laws by the electorate.

“American political institutions are at a tipping point,” said Polling Director John Della Volpe at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. “Millennials are now the largest generation in the electorate. This poll and the Virginia[gubernatorial] election show that they are becoming more motivated—and I believe the fear that exists today about our future will soon be turned into the fuel that will reform our government. The only question is whether this comes from inside or outside the traditional party structure.”

Among the other key take-aways are the following:

  • By a nearly 4:1 margin (54% to 14%), young Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, compared to the right direction. Over four in five Democrats (82%) voiced fear compared to 17% expressing hope; in contrast, 58% of Republicans expressed hope while 39% expressed fear.
  • Just one-quarter (25%) of respondents approve of the President’s job performance overall, which represents a 7-point decrease since the spring release. The President’s highest rating on any issue comes from his handling of the economy and his response to the hurricanes, with 34% approval on both. On tax reform, he gets 29% approval; healthcare, 26%; North Korea, 25%; climate change, 24%; and race relations, 22%.
  • Nearly four-fifths (79%) of young Americans concerned about the state of race relations today. Fully 68% of black Americans and 46%of Hispanics believe that their race is under attack “a lot,” while 15% of whites feel the same way. Indeed, nearly four in five (79%) register concern about the state of race relations in the country today— a five-point increase over the last year.
  • Sixty-five percent would prefer to see Democrats control Congress after the 2018 midterms. One-third (33%) prefer Republican control. Independent voters prefer Democratic control by over 30 points (66% to 32%). Across most measures, young Democrats are more engaged politically than they were at a comparable
  • Only about 20% of respondents believed that the Republican Party or President Trump cared about them; 34%.agreed that the Democratic Party cared about people like them.

Finally—and tellingly—more than two-thirds of respondents (67%) said that America’s greatest threats come from forces inside, not outside, our country. In response to an open-ended question about top threats, President Trump, “ourselves,” and racism were the top responses.

Research contact: chazy_dowaliby@hks.harvard.edu