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Information Resources Inc. (IRI) has released a new study, “Echo Boom Young Adults - The Next Growth Wave,” which suggests that “to fully tap into this group's significant discretionary spending power, today's marketers must target the young adult echo boomers (age 21-27) who already head households and have become the primary CPG purchase decision makers.”

The report urges manufacturers to “begin investing in marketing and product development initiatives that resonate well with this segment's lifestage and lifestyle and carefully track purchase behavior for their brands, categories, and stores across echo boomer segments.” And, IRI suggests, “strong spending indices among echo boomers with kids represent significant long-term growth opportunity for many convenience meal categories, such as refrigerated lunches and dry packaged dinners. Retailers should strongly consider baby supplies as a potential differentiator to attract the echo with kids market, while baby supply manufacturers should consider partnering with key retail accounts in the development of programs to attract young parents.

“The report also offers that the echo boomers with kids segment also allocates a higher proportion of their total CPG dollars to private label products than the average household with kids. Knowing this, IRI recommends that retailers explore the opportunity to increase private label penetration and share across bigger-ticket, high-spend echo categories, while working with manufacturers to determine the optimal category mix of private label and branded products.”
KC's View:
While it indeed is important to identify what categories will be of the greatest interest to Echo boomers as they age, it also is critical to use this demographic as a stage upon which to start building a new approach to retailing. Because the next demographic group – those currently between the ages of 10 and 21 – will be one that will have revolutionary attitudes toward how they acquire things, fueled by their appreciation for all things technological and desire for instant gratification. As we’ve noted before, this is a non-linear generation, and they will demand a non-linear shopping experience.

It’s time to start figuring out what that is going to be.

By the way, there was another point in the IRI study that intrigued us. It speculates that “the majority of Echo Boom adults, though mindful of their weight, are still less likely than the general population to follow a specific diet and, contrarily, are more likely to visit fast-food chains. Also, this segment appears to be far less concerned about chronic disease, such as high cholesterol, heart problems, etc., than consumers in older age brackets, and is therefore less likely to seek out products with specific health benefits.”

In other words, they’re not any brighter than anyone else about nutrition issues.

And that strikes us as pretty good reason for increased nutrition education in schools and better oversight of the food and beverages sold in schools. Because these younger folks (and we’re dismayed just by the fact that we’re referring to them as “these younger folks”) clearly don’t get it.