After the Millennials come the Plurals – are brands reaching them?

While much has been written about the Millennial generation and how brands can effectively market to them, the next generation of consumers are waiting in the wings and already wielding significant spending and influencing power.

And marketers who ignore them do so at their peril.

Plurals, those born from 1997 onwards, are the most affluent and digitally connected group we have ever known. And far from sitting back and letting their parents make purchasing decisions alone, they are increasingly helping to shape how and where the household’s finances are being directed.

In Australia, for example, the average kid now reaps A$14 a week in pocket money, according to Turner Broadcasting’s New Generations regional survey of the media consumption and spending habits of kids aged four to 14. And when monetary gifts and paid work is taken into consideration, this group has an annual spending power of A$1.8 billion.

In addition, right across the region – in Manila, Singapore and Jakarta – parents are saying their children are helping guide them to decide on everything – from what goes into their lunch box to where the family goes on holiday (80%) and even their preferred hotel and airline (50%).

Kids influencing their parents on what to buy is nothing new of course. What has changed is the diversity of influence that they now possess.

Not only are more kids from affluent Asian cities directly impacting the path to purchase for everyday items such as books, toys, clothes and toiletries, but they now also hold sway over preferred car brands (51%), mobile phones (70%) and computers (80%).

Our research indicates that kids whose parents may be looking to go on a holiday, for example, are now suggesting accommodation, airlines and what activities each destination offers.

So why is this generation different to the one that went before?

Plurals, like no other, are consuming media, and in particular TV and digital media, very much on their own terms. As digital natives they access the internet when and where they want across multiple devices and with greater frequency.

An average of 82% of the surveyed kids aged four to 14 in Manila, Singapore and Jakarta use social networking sites regularly. In fact, social networking was the top online leisure activity in our study.

As a result they are much more informed and able to contribute meaningfully when it comes to purchasing decision-making.

For some marketers, this is still fertile and relatively untapped territory. It’s a level of consumer sophistication we have never encountered from this age group and it should be a catalyst for brands to rethink how they engage with this audience.

Not only are kids increasingly more active in helping their parents make instantaneous purchasing decisions, but the Plurals generation are the highly prized consumers of tomorrow in their own right.

By building brand equity from an early age and doing it in a way that fits in with their media habits, forward-thinking advertisers can only benefit in the long-term.

Millennials look out. There are some new kids on the block.

The writer is David Webb (pictured) is director of research and planning at Turner Asia Pacific.