Monday, March 21, 2005

Young but not stupid

A few days ago, Virginia Postrel linked to these Suzanne Shu posts that explore the upside and downside of consumer choice. In short, with low-cost items of little importance, lots of choices are good (Starbucks); on expensive products whose performance is less immediately obvious, choice is a beating (retirement accounts). But is that true for all consumers? PSFK offers us this observation: "more and more companies are offering customisation options....Young people want more than just purchasing power, they want to influence, shape, dictate and impact...[L]eading brands will be the ones who use this need to its advantage. Young people are getting smarter and more powerful with a higher level of brand and image literacy than ever before." These younger consumers are more adept at sifting through all forms of technology, advertising and choice; they in fact thrive at this.

Take the use of search engines. This study found that "only one in six search users can distinguish between unpaid and sponsored results." But "younger Internet more often and consider themselves confident and successful in their searching." They don't care about sponsored links -- good news because these are also the consumers least likely to be watching TV, a fact which is already shaping new campaigns. No one knows if this will always be, but I think that all this is really a whole lot of fun.

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