Youth spending power has also steadily increased over the years as the sway they hold in the average household continues to grow.
- 2010 - R95.3bn
- 2011 - R98.7bn
- 2012 - R104.4bn
- 2013 - R105.4bn
- 2014 - R111.3bn
They certainly don't sit in the background anymore and definitely don't do, eat, watch and act as they are told. From as young as age three, suburban kids of all races are highly self-determinant. So, what does the youth spend their money on? HDI found that 19% of the youth spend their money on clothes while, 12% on food and 10% spend their money on games.
When they aren't spending their own money, they have the "pester power" to influence their parents' purchases. Never mind groceries and cellphones, more than 60% of the time - according to the Sunday Times Generation Next survey (which polls over 5,500 young South Africans) - youth are able to influence major household decision like financial institutions, fun and leisure destinations, eat out places, and cars. So, they're an interesting, and definitely influential, market to consider.
"As a youth marketeer, I have seen the influence that youth have on brand and product selection. That is why we work hard to help brands make connections with youth in a way that builds value for them and the brand. We do this through activations, engagements, content and roadshows in the schools, streets, malls and homes of urban and rural South Africa," says Jason Levin, Managing Director of HDI Youth Marketeers.
And young people give their loyalty to brands that make their lives better or easier or both. Brands need to look at giving them awesome experiences worth sharing in person and on social media. It's the 'If I can't Instagram it, did it really happen?' syndrome.
"Youth marketing is all about understanding and connecting with them as real, discerning, fully fledged consumers, and not dismissing them as 'just kids'. Over the last 17 years we have worked hard at meeting their needs - as people, customers and as influencers. But of course brands have to get a piece of the action out of the equation too, and that's not impossible to achieve. It's a very fluid market, with lots of movement, and energy, so it keeps us invigorated and young ourselves," concludes Levin.
In today's competitive world, marketers are well advised to immerse themselves in youth culture to understand the role that brands play in their lives, and how they can modify (or maintain) and benefit from that. If they embed themselves in valuable and meaningful ways the way brands like the iconic Coca-Cola, Converse, Apple, Nike, WhatsApp, KFC and even the less high profile Dettol, Always and Pick n Pay have, they will reap the rewards.