Youth Seek More Multicultural Influences in Retail & Entertainment

August 1, 2016

HarrisPoll-Adults-Multicultural-Preference-Aug2016America’s youth are looking for more cultural influences in what they watch, eat and buy, according to new research. The Harris Poll survey of more than 2,000 adults finds that 18-34-year-olds over-index the general population in their preferences for multicultural experiences in areas ranging from food to travel and retail.

For example, roughly 2 in 3 respondents in the 18-34 bracket say they prefer to watch movies and TV shows with multicultural casts of characters, being 21% more likely than the average to say that’s the case. Further, almost two-thirds would shop more at a retailer that offers a wider selection of multicultural products (versus about half of adults on average). That preference for multicultural influences in retail extends to brands, as 47% would pay more for a brand really understand multicultural needs (versus 32% of all adults).

In each case, the oldest group of respondents (65+) showed the least preference for multicultural influences.

There was less age disparity in Americans’ professed love for trying new things outside of their own culture, such as food and travel. Still, 84% of 18-34-year-olds and 85% of 35-44-year-olds agreed that they love to try new things outside of their culture, versus 68% of Americans aged 65 and older.

MarketingCharts research has also found a preference for cultural influences among youth. In a study released earlier this year, MarketingCharts found that single, urban Millennials (dubbed “Young City Solos” are 60% more likely than the average to love the idea of traveling abroad and 48% more likely to enjoy eating foreign foods and being typically the first to try new foods.

Some of this may be related to Millennials’ own diversity. Recent figures from the Census Bureau indicate that Americans aged 18-34 are about twice as likely to belong to a minority racial or ethnic group than those aged 65 and older.

Nevertheless, this is an area where brands may be facing a deficit. Last year, research from the CMO Council and Geoscape revealed that almost half of brands lack any multicultural marketing initiative. This may change, though, as a majority see these initiatives as increasing in importance. Given that multicultural influences are most important to youth, it seems that brands have it right on that front…

About the Data: The Harris Poll notes that its survey was “conducted online, in English, within the United States between June 7 and 9, 2016 among 2,034 adults aged 18+. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.”

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