Distinction is key among millennials, Gen Z consumers
April 29/May 6, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 24
By Megan Salzano
Marketing to millennials is nothing new and Gen Z is even getting its turn in the sun. Research shows younger generations are poised to take control of billions of dollars of spending power in the very near future.
This year, millennials and Gen Z will form the largest population cohort and control or influence hundreds of billions of dollars in household spending. While older millennials are key targets for the flooring industry, as they age into homeownership and renovation, Gen Z also holds major influence. Research shows Gen Z alone spends $44 billion a year and influences an additional $600 billion in household spending, according to research firm Mintel.
So, how important is the “Made in America” label to these two generations? Moreover, does the movement influence their purchasing decisions? According to The AIMsights Group, an international marketing consulting firm, while price remains the key factor in the purchasing decision, the label may also be too broad for this socially conscious group.
“The geographic expanse of ‘Made in America’ is generally too big,” said Marsha Everton, principal, AIMsights. “Consumers like that L.L. Bean and Burt’s Bees are direct from Maine—as well as being committed to the greater good and socially responsible along many dimensions. They like that Crossville tiles are sustainably manufactured in Tennessee while offering innovative designs.”
To that end, Everton adds, “Locally Made,” with a very specific source identified, has become more important than the “Made in America” slogan. “In addition to trusting our neighbors to a make a safe, good quality product, there is the opportunity to support the local economy—and it gives us a story to tell. ‘Locally Made’ delivers an experience with the product,” she explained.
When marketing product in or beyond the local market, it’s important to be specific about where the product was made and to tell stories about the brand, company and people—and how the greater good is served. “The millennials are especially interested in these health, wellness, sustainability and social good factors. They strongly believe that they will individually have to be the change agents that deliver a greater good—that government cannot, or will not, provide the leadership.”
When it comes specifically to that Made in America label, what the group has found is that it may mean consumers can trust the quality and safety of the product—with safety being the most important factor, Everton explained. “With their interest in health and wellness, these consumers want to know that they and their families (including their pets) will be safe as they use the products. They want to know exactly who made the product, with what materials or ingredients, with what labor practices, with what impact on the environment and with what contribution to the greater good. So, it’s not about ‘Made in America,’ it’s about ‘How it is Made in America.’”