The Drivers of Consumer Anxiety Differ by Generation

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The Drivers of Consumer Anxiety Differ by Generation

How can brands take real action to address an increasingly anxious consumer? We’ve found that the drivers of fear and anxiety differ across generations, and brands have options for addressing them in order to acquire new customers. Alter Agents CEO Rebecca Brooks writes about this in her latest piece for the American Marketing Association titled, “What Makes Each Generation Most Anxious?


Common and Differing Fears

There are some universal fears that span all ages of people, including healthcare, personal finances and climate change. This alignment across generations – from Gen Z to the Silent Generation – could be the precursor to creating some kind of sea change surrounding these important issues. Rebecca writes: “Hopefully we can lessen our combined impact on the environment if we’re all aligned across age groups.”


Of course, there are some fears that are specific to each generation and these make sense when you look at them in context. For example, Gen X has a high level of concern surrounding gun control. This generation is most likely to have school-aged children, whom they feel may be at risk due to mass school shootings.


Conversely, Rebecca also looks at levels of optimism through a generational lens. She writes: “The overall picture that we found was one of little enthusiasm for current circumstances or prevailing societal trends, but pervasive optimism that better days lie ahead.”


How Brands Can Help

What can brands do in the face of these persistent challenges among their target audiences? First of all, Rebecca recommends that brands must “deeply understand” the needs of their customers. They may need to make difficult decisions about how to communicate with specific groups, and what kind of action they can take – from a societal standpoint – that will resonate with their key constituents. 


She concludes by saying, “The fact is that people are operating from a place of insecurity, driven by long-running trends and emerging concerns. Brands and organizations need to adapt to this reality to maintain authentic, trusting and engaged relationships with consumers.”


Our Facing Fear Research Series

Drawing on world-class analysis from researchers at Alter Agents and commentary by thought leaders in economics, political science, and psychology, this reporting series is a must-read to understand the consumer mindset entering the second year of the pandemic.

Facing Fear: Understanding Anxious Consumers
Facing Fear: Consumer Anxiety in 2020
Facing Fear: Overcoming Consumer Anxiety

Interested in having thoughtful research like this conducted to answer your business challenges?


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