The new book, co-authored by Yankelovich analysts J. Walker Smith and Ann Clurman, classifies today's consumers into those three living generations-Generation X, Boomers and Matures, or those born before 1946-and examines each based on almost 30 years of data compiled by Yankelovich on consumer's preferences, habits and lifestyles.
"Generationally determined lifestyles and social values exercise as much or even more influence on buying and purchasing than do more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education and gender," Mr. Smith said.
MATURES SEEK RELIABILITY
For example, the authors noted that Matures prefer brands that can be reliable authorities for them in the marketplace, while Boomers want a two-way dialogue with marketers and something tailored to suit their individual needs. Xers, meanwhile, are the most likely to assume that marketers will respond to their needs.
Despite the differences, consumers of all generations are loyal to a brand when they find one that works, the authors said. More than 70% have responded year after year in Yankelovich Monitor research that once they find a brand they like, "it's difficult to get [them] to change."
The findings also present accurate lifestyle attributes of the three consumer generations today and attempt to clear up common misconceptions.
For example, Gen Xers, those in their 20s seen as slackers-typically by Boomer marketers doing the labeling-are actually a pragmatic, savvy bunch. Their values reflect a mix of high expectations like those of Boomers and the hard realities of the late 1980s and '90s, according to the authors.