Millennials might not be the trendsetters marketers think, CivicScience research shows

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: CivicScience
Source: CivicScience

Related tags: Marketing

Targeting millennials in an effort to reach adventurous, trendsetting consumers who will adopt and evangelize new products early will only get marketers a third of the way to their goal, recent research from CivicScience suggests. 

Millennials make up only 34% of the more than 12,000 consumers who self-identified as trying new products before other people and as likely to tell others about new brands or technology, the consumer research firm discovered when analyzing results from a poll of more than 117,400 consumers conducted online from January through April.

The remaining majority of these consumers, who CivicScience dubbed “market mavens”​ are 35 years or older, according to the poll.

“Demographically, there is very little difference between market mavens and the general population,”​ although they are 19% more likely to be 25 to 44 years old, 17% more likely to have a household income of more than $75,000 and 10% more likely to live in urban areas, according to the poll and Jennifer Sikora, chief marketing officer at CivicScience.

They are, however, more likely to be “in the know”​ with all of them identifying as early adopters of new offerings, compared to 28% of the general U.S. adult population, and all willing to share their opinions about these offerings, compared to only 49% of the general U.S. adult population, she said.

In contrast, only 31% of the much talked about and sought after millennials self-identified as early adopters and only 55% tell others about new products and brands, Sikora added.

What this shows is that market mavens, who can help new products take off, are not defined by demographics like millennials, Sikora said.

She acknowledged that age, which defines millennials, can be a proxy for many preferences, but it only shows part of the picture and does not account for the personality differences among cohort members.

The survey also shows that market mavens may be a more valuable consumer segment to win and keep loyal than millennials, Sikora said.

Market mavens as taste makers

When it comes to food and beverage, this newly defined segment appears to have many of the preferences attributed to the much-vaunted millennial, CivicScience research reveals.

Compared to the general U.S. population, this group is 29% more likely to shop at natural or small, independent grocery stores, 67% more likely to buy organic, 17% more likely to buy local and 38% more likely to say the presence of GMOs affects their food purchases the majority of the time.

Like millennials, market mavens are more likely to love spicy food and consume juices, shakes and smoothies more than the general population, but they do not appear to be buying into the snacking trend as much, CivicScience data shows.

It found market mavens are 25% more likely to not snack throughout the day in between main meals, but if they do, they are more likely to prefer healthy snacks like fruits and nuts, the research shows. Millennials, on the other hand, often say they prefer healthy snacks but more often opt for indulgent ones​, previous CivicScience research shows. 

Even though market mavens are 59% more likely than the general population to experimentally purchase unknown or lesser-known brands and products, they are 65% more likely to value brand over prices.

How to reach market mavens

Marketers might have better luck reaching mavens before they head to the store, given that they are 13% more likely to plan ahead when making dinner than the general population, and 73% more likely to use coupons when shopping than millennials, the consumer research revealed.

In addition, marketers likely will get more bang for their buck targeting this group online at tech websites and blogs, which they are 38% more likely to read than millennials and on television given that 35% are more likely to watch it than millennials, the research found. 

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1 comment

Personality trumps demographics

Posted by Hunter Thurman,

Great article and data. Established behavioral science dictates that personality profile dictates whether one is a 'market maven' far more accurately than age or other demographics. The 'Big 5' personality index is a good place to start...

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