Generation vs. Life Stage – How to Glean Insights Through Micro Communities


Cailun Gangi

Research Director, Communities & Panels

Generational research is always top of mind for our clients, and at C+R, we are constantly thinking about how behaviors vary from generation to generation. But understanding age is only one key component to consumers’ motivations and rationales. Cultural background, gender identity, and life stage are also important variables to consider when thinking through your target consumers. Demographic information can help us understand the ”what”; we also need the layered psychographic perspective and life stage context to truly understand the ”why.” 

what is a micro community

Consider this example: a Gen Z single mom that lives with her grandmother will have a different perspective than a married Gen Zer without children. While they are both in the same generation, they are in two different life stages that might greatly impact their shopping behaviors and brand loyalty. 

So, how do you digest learnings that incorporate both generational and life-stage components? Our answer is Micro Communities. What is a Micro Community? This method focuses on specific target audiences of interest and deep dives into their behaviors over a two-to-six-month period. It is digital ethnography meets curated research.

In this specific micro community example, we’d recruit a range of Gen Z respondents who span across key life stages. Then, in a collaborative approach with our youth and family team, and multicultural experts at C+R, we would create a research pipeline plan that considers the varying perspectives of Gen Zers. This would also include recruiting and engagement techniques and best practices that meet these consumers where they are, both online and off. 

This method can be applied to other key audiences, such as parent/child pairs, multicultural youth, and Gen Alpha, among many others. If Micro Communities pique your interest, reach out – our communities and panels experts would love to help you develop a program of research that works for your business needs. 

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