Jackie Anderson [Posted by Jackie Anderson]

Finding a niche market that is still willing to shell out big bucks (or any bucks) during a recession is a huge win for any company. Many people think that young consumers are a great target group during a recession because they are more oblivious to the overall state of the economy. But, is this belief true? To figure this out I channeled my inner MythBuster[i] and hunkered down with our latest youth data, just back from the field. While my colleague Tamara and I will be covering the youth market more in depth in our upcoming webinar, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek.[ii] Here are three interesting things to know about teens and the recession:


  • They’re aware of what’s going on.  Over ½ of the 12-17 year olds that we surveyed indicated that the current economic situation affects them. In fact, over ¼ agreed that it affects them a lot. So, the myth that kids are oblivious: debunked! Kids are aware of the economic situation and feel that it is affecting them whether it be directly through the amount of money they have to spend or indirectly through how they see their parents being affected.

  • They have money to spend. On average, our online teens have $100 a month to spend.  In 2007 they only had $70. So, while the amount of money in their pockets has gone up, some online youth have changed the way they’re spending it. Forty-seven percent of online youth who make their own money said they have started spending less in the last 6 months. However, another 49% indicated that they haven’t changed the way they spend their money at all.

  • They have their priorities in line. We asked kids what they would continue to spend money on if their monthly budget were suddenly cut in half. What were the most popular answers? Food, clothes and going out with friends. This sounds like pretty much every teen you know, right?  So, while some youth may see budget cuts, there are still key areas where they’re not willing to stop spending.

While we debunked the myth that kids are oblivious to the goings-on of the economy this doesn’t necessarily mean that their appeal as a recessionary target group has disappeared. Almost half of online youth haven’t changed their spending in the last 6 months and if you have a product or service that falls into the food, clothes or friends category (or can be messaged in a way that ties it to these categories), then you’re in luck! Youth, like any other consumer group, have needs that they are looking to fill. If they deem the need essential enough, they’ll continue to spend, even when times get tight.

[i] If you’re not familiar with MythBusters it’s a great US TV show featured on the Discovery Channel. Adam , Jamie and the rest of their team set out to debunk urban legends and other myths. For more on the MythBusters check out their website: http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/meet/meet_main.html

[ii] Clients can register to receive a recording of the Webinar afterwards at our Website.