Winners at the 2019 Sunday Times Generation Next Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED
Winners at the 2019 Sunday Times Generation Next Awards. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Sunday Times Gen Next Awards take place in June 2020. This year, a new category is launching, which will cover the 25- to 30-year-old age group and provide insights into this market as they enter a phase of “firsts” – the first time they buy a car or a home, invest in insurance or start a family.

Bongani Chinkanda, CEO of HDI Youth Marketeers, the company responsible for conducting the research that informs the Gen Next Survey, says the new category will add more value for clients, providing an assessment as to whether the work they are doing in this age group translates into conversion and ongoing consumption. For example, if a person opened an account with a particular bank as a teenager, will they continue to use that bank as they grow older? Ultimately, it answers questions around the “stickiness” of the work that a brand is doing. 

“HDI, in partnership with the Sunday Times, will be launching the Gen Next Youth Segmentation Model based on demographic and psychographic data around four groups: kids, teens, young adults and the 25-30 segment,” Chinkanda says.

In the 25-30 segment, the research will also look at what he calls “dark categories” such as smoking and sexual behaviour. “In addition, it will challenge HDI to test theories such as the belief that the youth are living at home with their parents for longer due to the tough economy.”

With a new year, new trends in the youth marketing space are set to appear, Chinkanda adds. For example, while digital is now fully entrenched in marketing strategies, he believes it will be interesting to see how brands will make use of development trends around WhatsApp and TikTok in their youth marketing plans.

The big take-out

A new category, the 25-30 age segment, will be included in the Sunday Times Gen Next Survey this year. 

Younger consumers are calling for more definition around what most brands loosely term “purpose-driven marketing”, which addresses the tensions the youth experience. “They want to know what the brand stands for – environmental issues, for example, or gender equality. Furthermore, they expect to see this purpose translating into all brand communication.”

There will also be a spotlight on the “phygital” world – the merging of the physical and digital worlds and how the experiences of each are brought into the other, says Chinkanda.

Finally, the report will analyse the importance of identifying “tribes”. Chinkanda defines tribes as groups of people that share common interests outside of their conventional age, gender or income demographics.

An example of this will be the embracing of retro fashions – how brands like Fila and Kappa have had a resurgence in popularity and whether this trend will continue over the next year.

For information on sponsorship and activation opportunities at the 2020 Sunday Times Gen Next Awards please contact Cortney Hoyland

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