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The Social Dynamics of 18-24 Year-old Males - US - September 2009

The 18-24 year-old male demographic is attractive to marketers because of their tendency to be early adopters (and often opinion leaders) of new trends, particularly in technology, fashion, and entertainment. However, these younger consumers are also difficult to reach due to an inherent scepticism against traditional advertising and corporate interests.

In this report, Mintel takes a look at what characteristics define the dynamics of this demographic and how advertisers are succeeding in reaching them.

Analysis and insights offered include:

  • How are expenditures by this age group growing
  • How recent national events have impacted attitudes toward spending
  • What are the important elements in successful TV advertisements for this age group
  • How can these consumers be best reached in university settings

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Expenditures of single males 18-24 are relatively flat while income grows
                        • Today’s 18-24 year olds impacted by election and recession
                          • Interest in dating and influence of friends define 18-24 male demographic
                            • Marketing on social networking sites must overcome resistance
                              • Black and Hispanic respondents 18-24 are heavier users of social networking
                                • University marketing strategy starts brand relationships early
                                  • Television advertising entertains with humor, sex appeal, and testosterone
                                    • Celebrity endorsements most effective for 18-24 year olds
                                    • Insights and Opportunities

                                      • Social networking sites should be designed to spread advice
                                        • A brand can be more than the sum of its tweets
                                          • 18-24 year olds want to continue setting trends
                                            • Figure 1: Attitudes toward peer influence, by gender, June 2009
                                          • New products should keep the promise of mainstream
                                          • Inspire Insights

                                            • Staying Connected
                                              • Implications
                                                • King Conversation—the mantra for advertising that sticks in 2.0
                                                  • Implications
                                                  • Expenditures and Income

                                                    • Per capita expenditures of single males through 2007 show little growth after inflation; 2008-09 figures are likely to see a significant downward trend
                                                      • Figure 2: Average annual expenditures of single males 18-24, 2003-07
                                                      • Figure 3: Indexed spending per capita of single males, 2003-07
                                                    • Despite income growth, single males 18-24 still spend more than they earn
                                                      • Figure 4: Average income before taxes of single males 18-24, 2003-07
                                                      • Figure 5: Indexed spending per capita of single males, 2003-07
                                                  • Background Factors

                                                    • Racial and gender composition
                                                        • Figure 6: U.S. population share, by race/ethnicity, 2004-14
                                                      • New graduates face most difficult job market in decades
                                                        • Obama election renews political awareness and social responsibility
                                                            • Figure 7: Attitudes toward charity sponsorship, by age, June 2009
                                                          • Celebrities show greatest impact on younger consumers
                                                              • Figure 8: Attitudes toward celebrity endorsements, by age, June 2009
                                                          • Network Marketing

                                                            • Overview
                                                              • Social networking sites
                                                                  • Figure 9: Attitudes towards advertisements on social networking sites, by age, October 2008
                                                                • Twitter
                                                                • University Marketing

                                                                  • Overview
                                                                    • Campus representatives
                                                                      • Spotlight: Apple campus rep program
                                                                        • Tour and event sponsorship
                                                                          • Figure 10: Preference for sponsoring brands, by gender and age, June 2009
                                                                        • Institutional partnerships
                                                                        • Television Advertising

                                                                          • Overview
                                                                            • To draw in skeptics, products left out of the ads
                                                                              • Figure 11: Nike—Track Town USA, June 2008
                                                                              • Figure 12: Sony PlayStation 3—staring into fantasy, November 2008
                                                                            • Celebrity endorsements transfer desirable qualities to the product
                                                                              • Figure 13: Under Armour—Jose Reyes, June 2009
                                                                              • Figure 14: Sean John I Am King Fragrance, December 2008
                                                                            • Spotlight: Apple relies on high-energy music and visual cool
                                                                              • Figure 15: Apple—iPod touch games, April 2009
                                                                              • Figure 16: Apple—PC goes to the future, January 2009
                                                                            • Spotlight: Axe promises the average guy sex appeal
                                                                              • Figure 17: Axe—Man on dance floor, March 2009
                                                                            • Spotlight: Ecko Unlimited puts testosterone in clothes
                                                                              • Figure 18: Ecko Unlimited—extreme sports/fashion runway, October 2008
                                                                              • Figure 19: Ecko Unlimited—Frank Mir, March 2009
                                                                          • Cinema Advertising

                                                                            • Movie theaters offer strong targeting of 18-24 males
                                                                                • Figure 20: Attitudes toward cinema advertising, by age, October 2007-December 2008
                                                                            • Living Situation

                                                                              • Living with parents still the most popular option
                                                                                • Figure 21: Living situation, by gender, June 2009
                                                                              • Males 18-24 less likely to move residences
                                                                                • Figure 22: Number of dwellings, by gender, June 2009
                                                                            • Leisure Time and Hobbies

                                                                              • Electronic and online communications are vital to 18-24s’ social habits
                                                                                • TV still dominates free time but time spent on online video grows rapidly
                                                                                  • Figure 23: Time spent on various media/communication activities, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                • Friends and especially dating carry strong priority for males 18-24
                                                                                  • Figure 24: Importance of social activities, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                • Music, comics, games, and artistic hobbies popular among males 18-24
                                                                                  • Figure 25: Leisure activities among males, by age, February 2008-March 2009
                                                                              • Peer Communication

                                                                                • Males 18-24 turn to friends more often than females for product advice
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Attitudes toward product research, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                • 18-24 year olds more likely to do what their friends do
                                                                                  • Figure 27: Attitudes toward peer influence, by gender, June 2009
                                                                              • Dating Habits

                                                                                • 18-24 age group is prime time for dating, especially for males
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Dating habits, by gender, June 2009
                                                                              • Personal Attributes

                                                                                • Males 18-24 exhibit attitudes conducive to hype marketing
                                                                                  • Males 18-24 feel less financial pressure to find the best deal
                                                                                    • Figure 29: Self-descriptive statements, by age, February 2008-March 2009
                                                                                  • Males 18-24 less likely to see positive attributes in themselves, need confidence boost
                                                                                    • Figure 30: Self-descriptive adjectives, by age, February 2008-March 2009
                                                                                • Life Goals

                                                                                  • Males 18-24 less likely to be saving money
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Life events and goals, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                  • Aspirational imagery can move beyond sex appeal
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Life events and goals—planned, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                    • Non-planners (53%)
                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                        • Romantics (30%)
                                                                                          • Opportunity
                                                                                            • Dependents (17%)
                                                                                              • Characteristics:
                                                                                                • Opportunity:
                                                                                                  • Characteristic tables:
                                                                                                    • Figure 33: 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Living situation, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Number of dwellings, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Life events and goals, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 37: Time spent on various media/communication activities, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 38: Attitudes toward product research, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Attitudes toward peer influence, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 40: Importance of social activities, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Number of social networking sites with a profile, by 18-24 male clusters, June 2009
                                                                                                  • Demographic tables:
                                                                                                    • Figure 42: 18-24 male clusters, by income group, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 43: 18-24 male clusters, by race, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 44: 18-24 male clusters, by Hispanic origin, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 45: 18-24 male clusters, by marital status, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 46: 18-24 male clusters, by education group, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Figure 47: 18-24 male clusters, by employment group, June 2009
                                                                                                  • Cluster methodology:
                                                                                                  • Race/Ethnicity

                                                                                                    • Black and Hispanics 18-24 more avid users of social networking and other electronic communications
                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Time spent on various media/communication activities, by race/ethnicity, June 2009
                                                                                                      • Figure 49: Importance of social activities, by race/ethnicity, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Black and Hispanic respondents 18-24 more likely to be influenced by friends
                                                                                                      • Figure 50: Attitudes toward product research, by race/ethnicity, June 2009
                                                                                                      • Figure 51: Attitudes toward peer influence, by race/ethnicity, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Black respondents 18-24 more likely to live at home and be single parents
                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Living situation, by race/ethnicity, June 2009
                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Life events and goals, by race/ethnicity, June 2009
                                                                                                  • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                    • Living situation
                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Living situation, by employment status, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Leisure time
                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Time spent on various media/communication activities, by household income, June 2009
                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Time spent on various media/communication activities, by employment status, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Dating
                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Dating habits, by employment status, June 2009
                                                                                                    • Life events and goals
                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Life events and goals, by household income, June 2009
                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Life events and goals, by employment status, June 2009
                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Life events and goals for 4-6 years, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Life events and goals for 7+ years, by gender, June 2009
                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Life events and goals not planned, by gender, June 2009

                                                                                                    Companies Covered

                                                                                                    • Abercrombie & Fitch Co
                                                                                                    • AMR Corporation (American Airlines)
                                                                                                    • Apple, Inc
                                                                                                    • Cinema Advertising Council
                                                                                                    • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                    • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                    • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                    • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.
                                                                                                    • Linden Lab
                                                                                                    • LinkedIn
                                                                                                    • Marc Ecko Enterprises
                                                                                                    • Microsoft USA
                                                                                                    • MySpace.com
                                                                                                    • National Association of Colleges and Employers
                                                                                                    • Nike
                                                                                                    • Pepsi-Cola North America
                                                                                                    • Perfetti Van Melle USA Inc.
                                                                                                    • Procter & Gamble USA
                                                                                                    • Red Bull North America, Inc.
                                                                                                    • Research In Motion (USA)
                                                                                                    • Sony Corporation of America
                                                                                                    • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
                                                                                                    • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                    • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                    • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                    • Victoria's Secret
                                                                                                    • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                    • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                    • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                    The Social Dynamics of 18-24 Year-old Males - US - September 2009

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