Statsthought: 51

This is the percentage of 14- to 34-year-olds in Canada surveyed recently who 'typically save for a vacation or a special occasion.'

This is the percentage of 14- to 34-year-olds in Canada surveyed recently who ‘typically save for a vacation or a special occasion.’

On the face of it, it’s a relatively benign statistic. However, when you consider that vacations and special occasions are the most typically saved-for items in this age group, followed by technology purchases at 30.1% and ‘rent/food and other basics’ at 29.4%, then this figure provides a much more compelling picture of today’s emerging consumer.

Young consumers put an unprecedented amount of focus on the procurement of experiences. The visceral and the memorable, now diligently documented and transferred to whatever social networking sites one is part of, have become truly commoditized products that are quested after in today’s new reality.

So it comes as no surprise that the iconic consumer successes of our current time, including the dynamic duo of Rock Band and Guitar Hero and the apparently unstoppable Facebook, tie in well to this ascendant focus on sharing, occasion and experience.

This stat also represents yet another clarion call for those of us in the marketing and communication world to not let up on linking this sense of ‘special occasion’ and ‘new experiences’ into whatever it is we are selling – from political or social ideas to wristwatches or cars.

Incidentally, saving up for a car (or to pay off a car loan), long the symbol of young, goal-oriented consumerism in our culture, stands at a comparatively meagre 20.7% in this context. The ideal of the big ticket item is most certainly changing along with our sociocultural priorities.

This ‘statsthought’ was gleaned from Ping, Youthography’s quarterly study of Canadians aged 9 to 34. It was culled from a Spring 2008 survey responded to by 2,224 14- to 34-year-olds, regionally represented. Mike Farrell (partner, chief strategic officer) can be reached atmike@youthography.com.