business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal has a story this morning about how “the biggest single age cohort today in the U.S. is 26-year-olds, who number 4.8 million,” which means that it is 26-year-olds who are the center of the marketing target for many companies. (Followed closely, the story says, by people who are 25, 27, and 24 years old.) This is a highly desirable demographic because many of these folks “are on the verge of life-defining moments such as choosing a career, buying a house and having children.” In other words, spending money.

But … “Companies looking to grab a piece of that business, however, have run into a problem,” the Journal writes. “This generation, with its over-scheduled childhoods, tech-dependent lifestyles and delayed adulthood, is radically different from previous ones. They’re so different, in fact, that companies are developing new products, overhauling marketing and launching educational programs - all with the goal of luring the archetypal 26-year-old … Companies such as Scotts, Home Depot Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. , Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s West Elm and the Sherwin-Williams Co. are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color.”
KC's View:
This is enormously instructive, at various levels, and goes back to a seasoned MNB dictum - that it is critical in this competitive climate to be not just a source of a product, but a resource for information.

If people of this age don’t know how to mow a lawn or write a check or hammer a nail or do all sorts of other things, that probably also means that they could be less than competent in the kitchen. Which means that they’re going to need - and hopefully will value - all sorts of help that savvy retailers are ideally positioned to provide.

Of course, that means the retailers have to be innovation-minded. It is not surprising that it took outside companies to create the meal kit business, even though food retailers had all the tools/ingredients/knowhow at their disposal. And it won’t be surprising if it happens again and again and again.