Which Generation(s) do you Market to?

Does your Messaging Hit or Miss the Target(s)?

We know instinctively that people of different ages have different viewpoints.  It’s part of life and it’s sometimes fun and sometimes frustrating.   For marketers it is also challenging.'

How to appeal to specific audiences or how to appeal to all audiences? 

How does a generational difference apply to my product category in particular? 

Are generational differences real when it comes to actual consumer behavior in my product category?

We always examine generational differences in our quantitative studies.  And we can say that we’ve never seen a product category where there weren’t at least some attitudinal and behavioral differences between generations.  Those differences always impact marketing decisions.  A review of some of our recent studies revealed a few generalities we could bet on even before starting data analysis:


Seek Style/Color/Design:  Gen Y

Seek Practicality/Functionality:  Gen X


Seek Brand namesGen Y

Don’t care much about Brand names:  Gen X & Boomers


Impulse purchase:  Boomers

Planned purchase:  Gen Y


Bed, Bath & BeyondBoomers

Target/WalmartGen X

Amazon:  Gen Y


By compiling some recent studies, we can assert the following with the confidence of several hundred interviews:


Gen Y  When it comes to products, Gen Y stands out versus other generations in seeking style.  They want different colors, different materials, more choices.  They want what they buy to stand out.  They want higher quality, even if it means they have to postpone purchases until they can afford what they want.  They are willing to pay more, even if they don’t have the money right now.  As such, they pay more attention to brand names than other generations and they are more likely to know the brand names of the goods they purchase.  Versus other generations, Gen Y places more importance on brand name than any other generation.  Most Gen Y’ers are the children of Boomers.  They grew up in an age of rampant consumerism.  Brand mattered to their parents.  For their parents it was an expression of new-found status, of making it in the world.  Gen Y’ers want that too.  They index highest on the statement “my kitchen is a reflection of me.”  They are just more limited in what they can afford and when they can afford it, given the extraordinary difficulties they experience in getting established as households. 

Gen Y’ers want style and status. 


Gen X  The Gen X experience is completely different from the Boomer and Gen Y experiences, which are related to each other.  Gen X is the smaller group that followed the Boomers.  They suffered economically because the Boomers had and held a lot of the best jobs for a long time, which depressed their opportunities.  Gen X is now established and raising families while both parents (if both are present) are holding full time jobs and possibly caring for older parents as well.  They are intensely practical.  They index higher than the other generations on all of the following kitchen product conveniences:

  • Being easy to clean
  • Being easy to store
  • Being dishwasher safe
  • Being well made/durable
  • Being chip resistant
  • Being stackable
  • Being able to replace broken items


Practicality reigns for Gen X.


Boomers  More than half of the Boomer generation has surpassed retirement age.  They have large homes (sometimes multiple homes), that they often can’t sell to downsize because younger generations don’t have the money to buy their homes.  They have everything they need and then some when it comes to home goods.  They can afford whatever they want and they aren’t particularly brand conscious, even though they used to be.  They are most likely to say brand name is unimportant.  They are most likely to buy kitchen products on impulse rather than through careful planning and research.  They are the least likely to recall the name of products they recently purchased.  They index lower than the other generations on product attributes relating to practicality and relating to style.   They are perhaps the toughest generation to sell to, but they have the most disposable income for purchases.

Boomers don’t need to be impressed, just serviced.  


Call 609.869.1108 or email us today (Rick@designres.com Janine@designres.com) to learn more about how we can generate great insights from and about your customers and target audiences that directly relate to your product categories!