Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The In’s and Out’s of Future Freshmen

One of the advantages of being a member of NACS is the demographic and trend research we receive from TRU (Teenage Research Unlimited). Those teeny-boppers grow up and go to college to buy tons and tons of stuff from the bookstore!

The latest two trend summaries of teens for Spring 2007 we thought contained a wealth of information to use when considering business and marketing plans for the upcoming academic year.

The first details music and athlete “TRU Scores” (calculated with some top-secret TRU algorithm from those teens who responded that they like music/athletes "Very Much"). And while the lack of Bowie, Dylan, or Rufus is evident, it is interesting to see good ol’ Canadian "rockers" Nickelback in the #2 spot. Check out the ratings of Chili Peppers (11) and Panic! (4), as well. Notable is the increase in Country artists on this list, including cross-over group Rascal Flatts (10).

In terms of the athletes, Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James took the top spot. NBA, NFL, MLB, and a spattering of other sports populate most spots on the list. And if you’ve never heard of MMA (mixed martial arts) and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships)…you soon will. This sport is catching on with teens (and others) and several of the popular UFC fighters made the list this year. Before leaving this list, we have to point out that Tony Hawk scores very high (6). Athletics or marketing? You be the judge....

The next summary of note is a teen "What's In /What's Out" list covering fashion, music, technology, etc.

In fashion, “hoodies” continue to rank highest in fashion (92% with girls and 84% according to guys), as well as "college-logo clothes" (68%-girls, 66%-guys). If only we could slap HARVARD on everything. :) Short skirts, flip-flops, and denim shorts (?!) are all high on the list. It’s also worth noting that 31% of guys say “tall high-heeled boots” are in -- hmmm...

Compelling tidbits from the technology list:
- DVDs, Cell phones, and Home Video Games top this list for guys and girls.
- Only 27% (guys) and 20% (girls) think that virtual worlds (e.g., Second Life) are in.
- Podcasting was near the bottom for both genders.

Perhaps the term “Podcasting” confuses consumers into thinking they need an iPod or MAC to use? Virtual worlds are still in the early adopter stage so no surprise there.

There weren’t many surprises on the “Activities” summary. But we wanted to point out that "going to college" is an IN activity for guys (84%) and girls (90%)! Going to concerts scores extremely high and is something to consider when focusing on the "community embraced" campus store. We’re not sure why 22% of girls think backyard wrestling is in, though. Maybe they do that while the guys are shopping for tall high-heeled boots….

Issues such as eating healthy (Cstore!) and caring about the environment/volunteering score high in the issues area. We (read: “Mark”) ignored sports ‘cus hockey scored very low (but get a load of Paintball—70% for guys and 60% for girls!). And for obvious personal reasons we decided to leave you to your own devices re: hairstyles.

We were thrilled to see how Backpacks (69%/65%--guys/girls) (gen. merch. angle) and Bedroom Accessories (58%/87%--guys/girls) score in the "other stuff" category.

And new revenue streams…? A campus Tattoo Parlor might be an interesting revenue angle (tattoos—61%-guys, 63%-girls).

Mark Patten
MacEwan Bookstores

Tony Ellis, CAE

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