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Youth + Family Trends

Mary McIlrath, Senior Vice President

If you follow this blog and/or subscribe to our YouthBeat® syndicated data, you know that the team constantly has our ears to the ground, listening for the important themes that will guide the shopper and consumer needs of youth and family tomorrow and longer-term.

We’re in field every month with youth, asking questions that paint a holistic picture of what’s on their hearts, minds, screens, and plates—and much more. We talk to their parents quarterly on the same topics. We attend conferences like Toy Fair (New York and Chicago), the Consumer Electronics Show, and other industry events. Oftentimes we’re presenters at these events, too!

In the challenging times of COVID-19, what’s encouraging is the unending resilience of youth. Their culture marches forward. Generation Z and Gen Alpha are comfortable with virtual communication and adjust more easily than their parents to Zoom preschool class meetings and e-learning. 

Four key things we’re talking about today are:

 

  1. The New Parenting Balancing Act Parents who like buying organic cleaning products are turning to more time-tested brands like Clorox and Lysol when a reputation for germ-killing is on the line. But they can still introduce sustainable elements into today’s family life, by reusing, recycling, and reducing their physical and carbon footprints.
  2. Pop Pastimes Music is a therapeutic release for kids of all ages, and parents too. When the tunes are shared, it’s a way to bond. It can lift spirits or provide catharsis for darker times. The “Anxiety Pop” tunes of 2019, from award-winning teen Billie Eilish and suicide-prevention trio Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid, sit on the same playlists as K-Pop boy dreamboats, BTS.
  3. Food as Comfort With most schools shuttered nationwide, local districts and the USDA are teaming up to deliver more than a million meals to the children who rely on schools to get enough to eat. Authors are pumping out youth-targeted books that emphasize the role of food in culture and happiness. And parents are including cooking in “Life Lessons” at-home learning, which helps youth learn to eat healthy by preparing and eating well-balanced meals. 
  4. Sustainable Fashion Youth still have to wear something, and many of them are rapidly outgrowing their closets from a month ago. Fast fashion is becoming unfashionable as clothing litters global landfills. Instead, teens, in particular, are using virtual thrift stores like Poshmark and ThredUp to freshen their looks. Reebok is offering vegan shoes for sale. Aerie is making bathing suits from plastic bottles. Greta Thunberg would be proud. 

OUR POV:

Today more than ever, it’s important to keep an eye on youth culture to understand where it’s headed and how it will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of a pandemic to inspire older generations and create “new normals” in lifestyles and popular culture. YouthBeat® subscribers can find out more about the latest trends and the implications for marketers in our latest YouthBeat® Trendspotter. Click on the button below to access a sample prior edition of the Trendspotter.

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