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The Magic Age? 26

By: Darrin Duber-Smith


For marketers, young shoppers have always been a coveted demographic, and since this generation is the largest in history, targeting and attracting those in their 20's and 30's has become the key to the survival of many brands. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the biggest single age cohort at the present time is 26 years of age (24, 25, and 27 are not far behind); and so, one might expect that all sorts of marketing messages would be targeted to this group.


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This 26 age cohort numbers almost 5 million people, and although many of these young adults have been voting for a couple of election cycles, a significant number still live at home with parents and therefore still aren't making many of the major purchasing decision most of us would consider to be milestones of adulthood. In fact, parents are now able to keep their kids on their insurance through age 26. But now, many of these folks are on the verge of very important life decisions including those involving skills attainment, industry/profession selection, geographic preference, personal relationship building, having kids, buying homes, etc. And so marketers are addressing this market segment with much enthusiasm.


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They had better move quickly because this group is aging, and the next generation of U.S. consumers after the Millennials (currently known as Generation Z or "iGen") are the children of the much smaller Generation X and therefore comprise a smaller cohort. Indeed young people today are making what most would consider to be "adult" decisions a bit later in life than did their predecessors, and so marketers have had to take this into consideration over the past 10 years. For many people in their mid-20's, parents are still making most purchasing decisions in the household. But this bunch is finally getting too old to live at home, and so marketers are excited at the prospect of penetrating this massive group of budding consumers. It will certainly be interesting to see how these marketers intend to address this important market.