The last 15 years have produced a major shift in our country’s consumer population, as various, diverse groups have grown in number and become a prevalent force in our nation’s economy. Think about the emphasis on multiculturalism and about the qualities unique to millennials. In fact, a recent Nielsen study reported that 92 percent of the total growth in U.S. population since 2000 had come from multicultural groups.
With this drastic change in the consumer population have come shifts in consumer behaviors. Due to the evolution of technology, for instance, our country has already changed many of its consumer behaviors: Communication, content consumption and shopping are at the forefront of the mobile movement.
But it is the multicultural groups (defined as Asian Americans, African Americans and Hispanics) and millennial groups that are leading us into this new wave of consumer habits.
So, the question for brands becomes, how do they keep up with both the explosive growth of a new generation and their ever-changing consumer behaviors? The answer, simply, is for them to focus efforts on the channels that have the most impact, so their brands will resonate for years to come.
The evolution of multicultural audiences is driving the economic growth of the United States, both in the present day and into the future. At 120 million strong, this audience already accounts for 38 percent of the U.S. population; in 2014 alone, multicultural consumers spent $3.4 trillion, up from $661 billion in 1990. That amounts to a 415 percent growth in buying power, which is more than double (204 percent) the growth of the entire country's buying power.
Not only is the multicultural audience increasing at a tremendous rate (adding roughly 2.3 million people every year), it has also become the most mobile savvy consumer group today. Research reports that 82 percent of multicultural consumers have an internet-connected smartphone used for browsing within key categories, compared to 70 percent of nonmulticulturals.
Marketers have to dive into the key behavioral aspects of multicultural individuals, because each culture varies in terms of experience, values and behaviors. And those factors have a profound impact on consumer motivations and shopping patterns.
Obtaining information on how connected these groups are, in terms of their mobile and social media behaviors, presents opportunities to create brand advocates who can carry your branding message to a burgeoning audience group for years to come.
Like multiculturals, millennials are a growing force within the U.S. consumer base. There are 75 million millennials in the U.S. today, spending $1.3 trillion annually. They are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, and will surpass the baby boomers in 2015 as the largest generation alive.
More importantly, millennials are the first completely digital generation. According to a comScore report, millennials spend an average 96 hours per month engaged with digital media (65.9 on mobile devices, 49.1 on desktop ones). That’s a four full days a month.
The best way to market to millennials goes back to one of the other "M’s" -- mobile. Millennials are extremely mobile-heavy: 81 percent own a smartphone. They also watch TV much less, preferring video on-demand or online streamed content -- at the rate of almost 360 online videos per month, in fact. Also, millennials view more digital ads than any other group: 2,311 impressions per month.
The secret is out about mobile. "Monsumers" now spend nearly three hours per day on their favorite devices (phone/tablet), which is 12 minutes more than their use of desktop and laptop computers (the first time ever that mobile traffic has exceeded PC traffic). Consumers are spending 15 hours a month watching mobile video, and 65 percent of all social activity happens on a mobile device.
Mobile is the platform that consumers are turning to for content discovery and branded engagements, so brands need to ensure they are not just visible but aggressive in their mobile presence, in order to stay top of mind with consumers. Marketers are able to deliver more dynamic brand experiences through mobile devices due to the interactive and social nature of the platform, helping consumers to form a stronger bond with your brand.
The bottom line? Mobile friendly is consumer friendly -- and can occur wherever your audience lives.
Marketers know it can be incredibly difficult to cut through all of the white noise and get their brands in front of their intended audience. But there is a natural intersection occurring within the "3 M’s" that will make it much easier for marketers to ensure the success of their campaigns. Millennials are the most multicultural generation ever, and both demographic groups are more reliant on their mobile devices than any previous group has been when it comes to managing their lives.
By integrating your brand’s multicultural, millennial and mobile-advertising strategies, you set in place a winning proposition that focuses on the key audience groups driving our economy (multicultural and millennial), and targets them through the platform they utilize most (mobile). This provides your brand with security in the near term, while building an affinity with your consumers that will last well into the future.