Millennials, as marketers have come to discover, are a tough collective nut to crack. However, niche opportunities exist, and one of these is the YPC segment, aka Young Professional Consumers. We define YPCs as Americans age 35 and under with college education and a household income of $100,000 or more. Those of a certain age might think of this group as the next generation of yuppies, those young urban professionals of the 1980s.
YPCs are definitely not yuppies. For one thing, they are not part of the delayed-adulthood trend that characterized yuppies and that many of YPCs’ generational peers today have taken to a new level. Most YPCs are in fact homeowners (77% vs. 49% of total <35 US population) and married (64% vs. 36%), and half have children (vs. 36%). This is not surprising given that YPCs tend to have a more traditional outlook on life and the path to success. Even their aspirations tend to be more “old school” in that they are more likely than others to say they would like to have an elite education, live in an exclusive neighborhood, and wear designer clothes.
Yet YPCs are also practical and deal-minded consumers. Three in four agree they always buy things on sale (76%) and visit deal-of-day websites such as Groupon on a monthly basis (73%), and one-third leverage social media to find coupons and deals on a weekly basis.
YPCs’ love of the deal does not mean they are not brand-conscious, however. Indeed, they are more likely than average to feel that certain brands in a number of categories are “different or better and worth paying more for,” particularly in computers, large appliances, cars, TV, and fashion, but also everyday purchases like cereal and beer. The challenge for YPCs is to get the brand they want at the price they want to pay – ideally, less than the perceived premium the brand normally gets.
This means that marketing to YPCs should blend the potentially dueling concepts of status and bargains. A great example is the Mercedes-Benz tagline, “Style you’d sell your soul for, at a price that lets you keep it.” (Extended Cut Commercial) Mercedes-Benz offers consumers the ability to own the traditional luxury brand at a reasonable price. It has been a successful strategy. The automaker can’t keep up with the demand for its new 2014 CLA-Class.
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