BRAND BUILDING: Retailers and marketers, sit up and take notice. Millennials, an 80 million strong group of consumers ages 13 to 33, have an annual purchasing power of $200 billion and they’re poised to overtake Baby Boomers in population and spending by 2015. Teen Vogue and Goldman Sachs decided to find out what Millennials really want and how they shop. They partnered to discover the characteristics of Millennials and what engages them. Lindsay Drucker Mann, analyst at Goldman Sachs, said, “We thought it would be really powerful to create a holistic picture of this important group. “Millennials have fewer mortgages, kids and families. That means more dollars to spend.”
The 2013 Teen Vogue/Goldman Sachs Brand Affinity Index, nicknamed “The Love List,” features the top 50 brands, chosen two ways, by a Teen Vogue It Girl reader panel and average girls in the general population or “mass Millennials.” Fashion, retail and beauty brands are assessed by three criteria — brand awareness, favorability and word of mouth. “For marketers it’s essential to understand how this shopper is connecting with brands,” said Jason Wagenheim, vice president and publisher of Teen Vogue.
The study includes the top 50 brands; the top 20 rising brands, and category top 15 lists for fashion, retail, beauty, luxury fashion-retail and prestige beauty. “What you see [in the top 50] is mass and prestige, high and low,” said Wagenheim. It’s interesting to see “Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors on the same list as Target and Maybelline.”
There can be a pretty big disparity between what the It Girls and national participants recognize. For example, Topshop had a 72.3 composite score from It Girls, but only 38.8 from nationals. Since Millennials are considered bellwether consumers, their behaviors builds momentum for brands to reach the next level. The top five brands on the rise include Topshop, Free People, Nasty Gal, EOS and Essie.
Teen Vogue and Goldman intend to annualize the survey. “The idea would be to build trend data against it,’ Wagenheim said. “Brands that made the cut are the ones doing social and mobile very well.”