Gen Z Demands Diversity & Inclusion, Upvotes Brands That Level Up

America’s youth, the first multicultural majority generation in U.S. history, is growing rapidly, adding over 2.3 million consumers (about twice the population of New Hampshire) to the population each year, making them a significant force to be reckoned with. These "mini-millennials” challenge brands to address societal stereotypes, particularly around gender identity, and use their influence to support or disapprove of brands’ diversity and inclusion efforts.

In our first report on diversity and inclusion last year, we analyzed consumer reactions to companies' public declarations of support for social justice in 2020. In our latest wave of ThinkNow Diversity & Inclusion: Brands and Consumer Purchase Intent, we find differences in perceptions and expectations among key demographic groups compared to last year’s report.

Download the report here:

Diversity & Inclusion Means Racial Equality

As in 2021, most U.S. consumers equate diversity and inclusion with ‘racial equality.’ Among LGBTQIA consumers, however, 70% consider ‘LGBTQIA equality’ a stronger representation of D&I. Youth are more likely to see ‘gender equality’ as an example of diversity and inclusion.

Multicultural Consumers Support Inclusive Brands

African American and Hispanic respondents are the most likely to support a company that makes a public commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives, which differs significantly from non-Hispanic Whites. This metric has held steady over the past twelve months as black and brown audiences, galvanized by the events of 2020, seek out brands that “understand the assignment.”

Consumers who support inclusive brands do so in various ways, but the extent to which they do it has shifted. Overall, we’ve seen a slip in the percentage of consumers willing to share their support on social media. The polarity of the platforms is likely driving this drop. However, there’s been an increase in those willing to spend more money at these stores or go out of their way to shop there – even if they’ve never done so in the past.

We did see a dip in the percentage of consumers willing to break up with their favorite brands if they don’t step up.

At the micro-level, non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to say that they would share their support on social media. Compared to a year ago, fewer Hispanics would share on social media, but more would go out of their way to support a store they had never frequented.

The number of African Americans willing to spend more money at a store that publicly supports diversity and inclusion significantly increased from 2021 to 2022. In 2022, this segment is more likely than other segments to be willing to spend at least 50% more at these stores.

While Millennials have become less likely to spend at least 50% more at stores that show a commitment to diversity and inclusion, Gen Z, on the other hand, has become more likely.

It Just Makes Cents

While it may not be making headlines or spilling out into the streets, consumer expectations for more diverse and inclusive brands are holding steady, driven by America’s youth. From race to ability, sexual orientation to gender, consumers want to see themselves represented authentically and sincerely by companies and brands.

A brand’s ability to do that impacts consumer sentiment and purchase behavior. Brands unwilling to step up run the risk of alienating consumer groups and the spending power at their disposal.

To see additional insights, download the 2022 ThinkNow Diversity & Inclusion: Brands and Consumer Purchase Intent Report today.

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Is Black Girl Travel Magic? Decoding Travel Habits

The 2017 film Girls Trip paid homage to Black women shouting “wheels up” as they board flights to various destinations around the world. A study of 900+ Black millennial women found that 42% have taken 1-2 vacations over 5+ days in the past 24 months, and an additional 28% have taken 3-4 vacations over the same period.

Pre-Trip Planning

For Black women, preparing for the trip is just as important as taking the trip. This is where brands come in. Most respondents state they shop online a few times a month, with clothing making up 52% of purchases. When deciding what to buy, they’re most influenced by family and friends, with brands influencing their decision a quarter of the time. So that means they’re checking in with their girlfriends on which outfits to take and which shoes to wear, and which site has the best deals, especially if they’re traveling together, to ensure that when they touch down in their chosen city, everything is on point.

Sixty-three percent of respondents state brand authenticity – defined as honesty, caring about the consumer, and high-quality products – is also important. Interestingly, 62% said they have not unfollowed or criticized a brand online, but they’ve likely directed their dollars to the brand that most resonates with them.

Booking Travel

When it comes to booking travel, 59% of respondents state they book online, and 46% prefer package deals. Twenty percent of vacationers say they booked their vacation four weeks ahead of time.

While nearly all travelers state they’ve traveled within the US, nearly half say they’ve traveled outside the US. Top destinations outside the US include Africa, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. Domestically, travelers still seem to favor warm climates as 40% plan to visit Disney World in Florida in the next 12 months.

Black Girl Travel Demographics

On social media, #BlackGirlTravel shows a thriving demographic. Black women are characterized as caring, trustworthy, and responsible. Our data shows that 48% state having enough money set aside for a rainy day, 49% state they sometimes “self-indulge” (and that’s OK!), and when thinking about the future,19% are looking to take out a mortgage which is a step toward building generational wealth.

Brands looking to reach this demographic are most likely to do so through digital streaming (60%) or cable TV (44%). The top watched networks are ABC, BET, and VH1.

It’s a big world out there, and Black millennial women want to explore its four corners. So they invest in themselves and set money aside to ensure they can do that while reaching their financial goals.

Basic Demographics:

    • Household income of $50-60,000
    • 34% have at least some college education
    • 42% own their own home
    • Age: 23-38 (Millennials)

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Web3, The Next Frontier of Digital Currency Favored By Millennials and the Affluent

Mobile apps like Apple Pay have made online and offline purchases more convenient for consumers, liberating them from having to pull out their wallets, credit cards, and wads of dollar bills and loose change. But the innovations of Web 2.0 are in the rearview, as consumers explore Web 3.0 where digital currency is just a fraction of what the virtual experience has to offer.

For enthusiasts, Web 3.0, or Web3, is a way of democratizing the internet, shifting power away from the behemoths dominating search, sales, and social and giving it back to consumers. The blockchain has made bitcoin, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and other forms of cryptocurrency ubiquitous among devotees, and the metaverse has become a virtual utopia for consumers and brands.

In our second look at cryptocurrency, ThinkNow conducted a nationwide online survey of adults ages 18 to 64 to understand their familiarity, usage, and interest in cryptocurrency and other Web3 technologies.

Download the report here.

Here’s a sneak peek at what we found:

Cryptocurrency Most Popular With Asians and White Men

Most adults have heard of cryptocurrency. Those most likely to be familiar are Non-Hispanic White men, Millennials, and individuals, in general, living in higher income households.

Of all cohorts, Asian Americans are more likely to use or own cryptocurrency, and Hispanics are more likely to own a cryptocurrency wallet.

Women lag men in usage of these forms of digital currency.

Non-fungible tokens are used most by individuals with a total household income of $80,000 and above.

Bitcoin is by far the most utilized form of cryptocurrency, followed by Ethereum.

Nearly everyone who uses a cryptocurrency wallet has the online/app version, as opposed to the thumb drive, likely to mitigate the risks associated with losing it.

Privacy and Ease of Use Concerns

But not everyone is sold on Web3. The technology is still evolving, and privacy concerns linger. And there’s a certain level of disbelief surrounding the metaverse. Are these concerns enough to slow the rate of adoption?

Download the ThinkNow Web 3.0 Cryptocurrency report today.

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Multicultural Marketing, A Strategy Not A Tactic

2020 was a year of highs and lows. For marketers who have always maintained a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the calls for social justice strengthened their resolve. For many others, however, the momentum of acknowledging the problem gave way to frantic, reactive statements that quickly fizzled out or failed. A year later, companies realized their approach to diversity and inclusion couldn’t be summed up in a social media post. (more…)

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How to Create and Measure Successful Multicultural Marketing

Corporate spend on multicultural marketing is expected to grow in 2022. Some of that budget is likely motivated by a long overdue cultural reconning with racial injustice, and some of it boils down to simple demographic realities. The 2020 Census revealed that the non-Hispanic White population shrank in real numbers for the first time in U.S. history. Minorities accounted for all the population growth over the past decade. Our consumer economy is becoming ever more reliant on multicultural spend, and those consumers expect to see themselves reflected in the media. (more…)

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ThinkNow Pulse: Consumer Confidence Rebounds As U.S. Economy Recovers

Two years ago, the global shutdown sent the economy reeling, and many Americans, especially lower-income households, experienced a seismic shift in their financial security. Consumers reported worsening personal finances and a feeling that the economy was weakening. Their outlook for 2021 was equally as dim, with fewer Americans feeling optimistic about improvements in personal finances for the coming year. Uncertainty about the pandemic, unemployment, and higher prices threatened to thwart the comeback story of the American consumer. But with the mass distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, better protocols and treatments, and the distribution of trillions of dollars in federal stimulus, consumer sentiment has returned to pre-pandemic levels. (more…)

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Coming Into Focus: 2021 Year In Review

This time last year, America was fresh off the high of a change in executive leadership. Americans started rolling up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccinations, and the nation was undergoing a racial awakening generations in the making. Then a week into the new year, democracy was breached, and the ensuing fallout would test the ideals of what it means to be American. In our 2021 ThinkNow year-end report we examine the economic highs and lows of the past twelve months, and how consumers, in their resilience, have weathered the storms by tapping into their power and wielding it to demand a fair and just society for all. (more…)

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