Susan Jones, CPG Solutions | October 16, 2018

Aspiring to have a real-time pulse on shopper needs, preferences, and behaviors, marketers have spent a lot of time, and dollars, researching every generation from Millennials to Baby Boomers. But, as Millennials transition into a generation of parents and careerists and their priorities mature beyond themselves, it's time to focus attention on an emerging and increasingly influential market force — teen shoppers.

Teen shoppers (ages 13-19) will soon be the group responsible for driving marketing spend and dictating how marketers interact with shoppers. Understanding these shoppers, their spending habits, and how they can be reached is critical. Now.

Inmar's 2017 Teen Shopper Study, available here at the Inmar Insights Marketplace, reveals some key attributes of this group that will, ultimately, influence everything from promotion strategy to e-commerce innovation.

First, teen shoppers are true digital natives. They have never known a time without the internet or cell phones or social media. They are connected ALL OF THE TIME — to their friends, their music, their favorite social sites and what they consider "news" — usually simultaneously.

They are accustomed to having endless amounts of information at their fingertips and they use it to make quick and, for them, thoughtful decisions.

Of course, mobile devices are at the center of the teen shoppers' universe. Any effort to engage, influence or activate teen shoppers must first be executable via mobile. But, format alone is not enough to ensure positive effect. Teens want, and have a real sensitivity to, authenticity. In order to effectively drive teens' shopping behavior, marketers must be equally sensitive and provide authentic, digital content.

As a direct consequence of their immediate access and constant information exposure, teen shoppers are extremely adept at tuning out undesirable inputs, quickly clicking past advertising (which most teens consider more manipulative than informative) and deleting unsolicited emails. The immediacy has also nurtured the expectation of convenience in all things and the want for instant gratification after a decision has been made.

However, for all the relative spontaneity they display, teen shoppers are cost conscious and value minded. Lacking large, disposable incomes they find ways to stretch their dollars. They actively look for deals, preferring to find savings through in-store sales and online discount codes. For those who help them save, there is a pay off as 66 percent of teen shoppers said that "great prices" made them loyal to a brand or retailer.

Ultimately, it will be e-commerce where teen shoppers will have their greatest impact. With 56 percent of these shoppers already claiming they frequently purchase items online, their influence in this space is only going to increase. While their current online purchases focus primarily around music, entertainment and video games, their shopping habits will evolve and expand along with their lives — and e-commerce will grow exponentially.

Teen shoppers are digitally driven, surprisingly discerning and represent a driving force that will change the shopping landscape — sooner rather than later. There's no better time than today for marketers to get to know them.

Susan Jones, CPG Solutions


Susan Jones is senior director, CPG Solutions at Inmar. Jones has been a member of the Inmar team for more than 24 years, holding a number of positions involving promotion consulting, analytics, operations, and marketing as well as product management. In her current position, Jones leads a team of product solution experts and business insights managers who craft holistic and strategic solution strategies to address CPG client needs and to drive value.