Pew Research Center’s recently published series of deep dives into the demographic characteristics and social views of American Post-Millennials (also commonly known as Gen Z) is worth a look for consumer insights professionals. With the oldest Gen Zers moving into post-adolescence, they most certainly are on marketers’ and market researchers’ radar as a key cohort of consumers whose characteristics, lifestyles and attitudes demand understanding right now and on into the future. Among other things, Pew notes, this is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history.
The oldest Post-Millennials, who are turning 22 this year, are getting college educations and/or have begun to enter the work force. Also, the Gen Z multitudes who are still in their childhood are driving a great deal of purchasing by their Millennial (ages 23 to 38) and Gen X (39 to 54) parents. Pew’s studies continue to compile data documenting similarities and differences between these generations.
The defining demographic reality of the late 2010s, in which the oldest Gen Zers and the youngest Millennials are coming into their own as young, independent consumers, is the dominance of smartphones as the pervasive tool consumers of all ages use to learn about products and services, buy products and services, and express and widely circulate their opinions about products and services.
But almost incredibly, only 54% of consumer insights professionals who responded to GreenBook’s most recent GreenBook Research Industry Trends (GRIT) report said they are using “mobile first” surveys to obtain consumer data. What’s worse, “mobile first” is not the kind of mobile research the industry should embrace. It fails to reach consumers in their true comfort zone, which is the mobile app. As eMarketer has documented, mobile consumers prefer the app environment by six to one over accessing and exchanging information on the mobile web,” which is where “mobile first” research takes place.
Although the GRIT report barely mentions mobile-app research, forward-looking marketing and consumer insights professionals at major brands, market research firms and advertising agencies are increasingly aware of and on board with the mobile-app research methodology. They recognize the speed, timeliness and quality of data collected from a first-party consumer panel of mobile app-users, and can see that it’s the pathway to research success in the Smartphone Era.
Scores of major brands and firms partner with MFour, often with the specific aim of reaching Millennial and Post-Millennial consumers, the leading adopters of mobile app activites (although Generation X and Baby Boomers are also rapidly making up any generational gaps in mobile app use).
Look at this visualization of MFour’s panel characteristics and judge for yourself the kind of coverage and engagement you can expect when you need to reach consumers in the key 18- to 49-year-old age groups. Pew notes that Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history – 52% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic, 14% African-American, 6% Asian and 4% other. When it comes to consumer panel diversity across Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z, MFour an Surveys On The Go®are already there.
In the 2010s it has become a watchword among most consumer insights professionals that Millennials, Hispanics and African-Americans are “hard to reach” for market research. But if you’re smart enough to connect with them through an advanced mobile research app, that simply isn’t so.