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As leaders in social entertainment and digital content, we wanted to better understand the youthful consumers our talent and brand partners were engaging. Following an in-depth 2017 study on Gen Z and Millennial audiences, this year we launched a new Generational Study to revisit these same generational cohorts — and see how they’ve evolved. This time we explored subsegments and unique groups we expected to emerge; with these subgroups having distinct attributes and behaviors that warranted a deeper dive.

Although brands are savvy in understanding the fundamental qualities of these generations, our work focuses on the smaller nuances that allow brands to genuinely align with the audience’s needs and wants at this specific time in their lives. The first thing we explored was a group known as “Cuspers,” ages 19-25, who overlap Gen Z and Millennials.

WHO ARE THE CUSPERS?

Cuspers want to be considered different from Gen Z and Millennials as they don’t wholly identify with either. They are multidimensional and shun labels as a single way of being boxed in. Over two-thirds want brands to talk to them as someone with many different attributes.

In addition to their blur between generations, they are also transitioning between living at home and going to school, to moving out and entering the workforce. They are developing their own preferences and using this time to explore and discover new brands and products.

IDENTITY AND REFLECTION IN MEDIA

  • They are more likely than any other cohort to identify as a person of color, minority, LGBTQ or another intersectional identity; and 25% feel underrepresented in the media
  • Cuspers are more diverse than the generation before them:
    • 55% are Caucasian, compared to 72% of Millennials
    • 23% are African American or Hispanic compared to 9% of Millennials

Over a third feel that diversity is the leading trait that will define them, giving a clear marching order to marketers and content creators that a reflection of that diversity is a reflection of truth in society.  

WRITING THEIR OWN PUBLIC STORY (PRIVATELY)

Surprisingly, Cuspers are statistically more creative than both Gen Z and Millennials, with 1 in 4 feeling most comfortable expressing themselves through the content they create.

While they want to tell their own story, they don’t want it to potentially harm them later. By choosing formats with less permanence, they are allowing themselves to feel and express in the moment with a diminished chance of repercussions. Uncurated and unfiltered, they are showing their true selves, without being concerned about what they tweeted during that awkward time they were binge-watching [insert guilty pleasure].

Beyond using their own keyboard and camera, they find voices, quotes, ideas, and people that they agree with or learn from as part of their personal expression. Cuspers follow an average of 25 influencers — more than double that of any other cohort — and an average of 12 brands, indicating they are open to a brand story.

They are spending more time on Facebook, Twitch, and Pinterest than Gen Z or Millennials on those platforms, indicating a distinct preference from other generations.

COMING INTO BUYING POWER THROUGH DIFFERENT WAYS OF WORKING

A little more than half of Cuspers are actively in the workforce, and of those, only half have full-time jobs. Of Cuspers who are employed, 77% have a flexible gig job (vs. 54% Millennials) which reveals an opportunity to dig deeper on how they are spending that extra cash.

Cuspers as a cohort have $622B in purchasing power; and the transition from parental influence to independence is the opportunity for marketers to re-introduce themselves to this new decision maker.

While finances are a stressor, Cuspers’ first paychecks are also giving them a taste of what they can buy.  They’re spending hundreds of dollars across key categories. These are staggering numbers when considering their average HHI of about $58K. While spending slightly less than Millennials, it’s noteworthy considering Millennials are making approximately $10K more.  

HOW BRANDS CAN GET IT RIGHT

  • Reveal your brand’s authentic self to Cuspers via stories and live formats
  • With uncertainty and inclusiveness at the top of Cuspers’ minds, demonstrate honesty and compassion
  • Cuspers are sophisticated social users who are finding the balance —  provide them content they can use to elevate their social cred
  • Capitalize on Cuspers’ impulsiveness by delivering a fast, seamless path-to-purchase
  • Delight first-time purchasers and reward them with loyalty programs that quickly convert them to brand advocates

For more information on the Generational Study, please contact brands@fullscreen.com.