Subtlety is the key to winning a slice of Australia’s $68.56 billion youth market, a report by Lifelounge and Sweeney Research claims.

The ‘Urban Market Research’ (UMR) study analysed the spending and brand behaviours of 16-30 year olds study and found self-discovery marketing, where consumers feel like they have discovered new products, brands, and artists in their own time, is preferred to ‘interruptive’ marketing tactics. 

“The winners won’t be the companies that broadcast their message the loudest,” Dion Appel, CEO of Lifelounge said. “Success is about cleverly branded content integrated across all channels, mixed with a good dose of imagination and old fashioned entertainment. Campaigns like the recent Old Spice ‘real man, man’ are the benchmark of how to get the balance right.”

One of the strongest claims to come out of the study was that “Email will soon be dead” as a way to reach the youth market, with social networking and texting becoming the most used communication channels. 

However, Nadia Saccardo, of culture website Two Thousand, doesn’t think the outlook is as bleak as Lifelounge predicts. 

The way that The Thousands audience currently communicates is dependent on the type of information,” Saccardo says. “People use Twitter for short messages, Facebook to manage their social life and email for longer, involved communication. While we definitely see email becoming less popular for quick messaging, we still consider it a valuable way of disseminating and absorbing more detailed types of information. This is supported by The Thousands city guides weekly e-newsletter open rates, and subscriber numbers, which have doubled over the past twelve months.”

Other notable findings

• A new trend to ‘pause and absorb’: 56% of respondents spend at least one hour a week ‘pausing’ by reading a book, removing themselves from technology.

• 21% of respondents still watch ten or more hours of TV a week. TV also had the highest recall of any marketing channel, with 48% of respondents who remembered a campaign, claiming they saw it on television, and

• The number one ‘thing’ the market couldn’t live without was an internet connection (30%), followed by a mobile phone (20%).

Average expenditures – consumers aged 16-30
Household expenses: $403.86
Socialising and entertainment: $122.42
Clothing and accessories: $99.71

Sweeney and Lifelounge’s UMR study surveyed 1751 Australian aged 16-30 in a quantitative online survey, as well as gathering qualitative data from an invitation-only online chat room, video blogs and journals produced by participants, MMS tasks and extensive interviews.