The youth aren’t spending less; just differently
Whilst we all know that no one is immune to the global recession, it is the youth market that seems to have been the most resilient when it comes to recession proofing their lives.
In Instant Grass’ recently published Project Pinch Report, a national study measuring the impact of spending within the youth market, the opinions of 90 young innovators and early-adopters clearly indicated that whilst the youth were aware of the global recession they were not necessarily experiencing it. As the youth have little or no long-term debt and are more entrepreneurial by nature the economic factors that are keeping mature consumers awake at night are not relevant to broader youth market.
The Project Pinch Report indicated that the youth were being affected more by economic inflation than the economic recession and that although there was little impact on their daily lives they were proactively looking for creative ways to ensure that their money stretched further.
Whilst they professed to be cutting back on certain categories, like entertainment and groceries, this was only in order to prioritise their spending on more important products such as clothing, alcohol and airtime. “No matter how little funds I have, I will never cut back on my drinking money,” says Sakhumzi, a 23 Gauteng-based Grass.
The biggest savings to be made were in entertainment and socialising where there was an increase in stay-at home-entertainment such as online gaming, drinking games and house parties. “Why must I spend over R150 at a club when I can have a better party at home with my friends for half the price,” says Asanda a 24-year-old female Grass.
The youth were also avoiding spending on any purchase that locked them into a long-term commitment. Fixed term banking product, retail accounts and cellular contracts were being disregarded as the youth were increasingly buying into short-term, bite-size versions of products within these categories. This purchasing pattern ironically meant that the youth ended up buying more frequently and as a result spending more.
The youth have always been a market that lives in the now and their spontaneous lifestyle and ability to adapt instantaneously to most challenges means that unlike other markets the youth are not spending less; they are just spending differently.