Advertising is a funny thing. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. And it’s often very difficult to know why. There are strong indications, however, that advertising to teens can be very effective. When it comes to sports equipment in particular, success with teens can make or break a small business.
Why Gen Y
Numbering more than 25 million, the age cohort known as Generation Y differs from previous generations of teens in several ways. According to Direct Marketing News, sociological factors, most notably the growth in two-income families and the rapid development of Internet technologies, have created a generation of independent-minded shoppers attuned to the latest trends. The members of Gen Y are indisputably the most media-conscious and technologically savvy youth market ever. Importantly, they are also well aware that having the right goods can boost their image and help them fit in with like-minded peers.
Teen Sports Equipment Market
Teen spending power, both in terms of their own expenditures and in terms of the extreme influence they have on what their parents buy for them, is not to be underestimated. U.S. teens are, directly or indirectly, responsible for more than $208 billion in spending on goods and services each year. Parents tend to be very involved in sports equipment purchases, most of which are considered rather than impulsive. Due to the increasing popularity of playing organized sports and exercising for fitness, teens form a ready market for sports equipment.
Teen Purchase Reasons
The typical 13- to 17-year-old shopper lists quality products, brands offered and price as three of the top reasons for patronizing a given retailer. In a study conducted by Touchstone Research, teens said that owning or using brand-name products is particularly important in the apparel and footwear categories. They also talked about the importance of brand names in the sports equipment category in general. Based on the belief that “if it makes a professional athlete’s performance good, it can do the same for me,” brand name equipment, particularly when connected to a top athlete, is viewed as proof of a product’s performance.
Changes in media consumption patterns and shopping behaviors have reshaped the way advertisers approach this important demographic. While some well-known footwear and apparel advertisers are heavy users of traditional media like television and magazines, small businesses are increasingly looking for more grass-roots-based communication vehicles. Studies show that approximately 79 percent of teen girls and 76 percent of teen boys do some shopping online, with around 18 percent of their spending occurring online. Integrating ad messages into non-traditional media content like the Internet, social media, events and sponsorships can provide cost-effective ways to reach this target.