Research roundup from the MRS Kids & Youth Insights Virtual Summit 2021
By Marie Harris
Last week Marie Harris, our Research Manager, attended the Market Research Society’s Kids & Youth Insights Virtual Summit. Here are some of her highlights.
As you can imagine, COVID-19 became a dominant theme and many findings highlighted the concerns of Gen Z. However, there were also plenty of positive notes - from the pleasures of TikTok challenges to a fantastic piece of youth employment research which set a high standard for participation.
COVID-19 and the world of Gen Z
Families have been spending more time with each other and many young people have developed better relationships with their parents. Despite the desire to get out of the house, there is evidence that many would like to stay close to the homestead in the near future. They may be consciously cautious, looking to avoid crowds, save money, have more ‘me time’ and ‘home time’. Parents still play a key role in decision making and their influence may have grown over lockdown.
Young people are understandably frustrated about missing out on key life events like birthday parties, exams, driving tests, graduation and travel. At the beginning of lockdown, the number of children and young people watching the news skyrocketed, the BBC reported record levels of youth viewing not only for Newsround but the 6 O’ Clock news too. Since then, many young people have been shunning the news in favour of more fun and positive content. The overwhelming sense of insecurity brought on by the pandemic is being counterbalanced by witty and creative activities like online challenges. And TikTok is dominating. Apparently, Snapchat is boring since users don’t have anything interesting to do and post. Some young people are scrolling through TikTok for over seven hours and day! However, this increased amount of screen time is driving demand for offline activities and a digital detox.
Teens are looking for brands that genuinely want to make the world a better place and are taking action to improve equality and sustainability. Young people can see through brands that are just paying lip-service to improve sales. ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ are well understood terms and although differences in understanding vary this is often due to life experiences rather than age. Young people who have experienced or witnessed discrimination are more likely to have an understanding of Diversity and Inclusion. Often this understanding is more developed in attributes that are overtly ’visible’ such as race and gender. Economic inequalities aren’t necessarily front of mind for them, but young people are aware when their own circumstances are different to their peers.
It has been a long period for self-reflection and enrichment through hobbies and interests. As a result, many young people are altering their career/education plans in light of new priorities and a desire for work-life balance.
Gen Z unmasked: Covid-19 impact on the world of teens: Coca Cola with Insights Consulting Diversity and Inclusion Through The Eyes of Youth: Discovery
Children’s Media Lives - life in lockdown: Ofcom with Revealing Reality
Youth advocacy for a COVID-19 generation: Youth employment
Clearview Research presented a very compelling piece of youth employment research.
This youth employment project is both for young people and was developed by young people. Clearview began the project with a co-creation group of ten young people from across England. The co-creation group informed the project’s research questions and shaped how they should be asked within a survey. The survey went out to a demographically representative sample of 1,000 16-25 year olds.
Members of the group also delivered the research findings at the summit and told us how much being part of the project had developed their own skills and confidence. It was a fantastic way to approach a research project, the additional time and resources were worth it for the quality and relevance of the insight. Plus, the developmental opportunities for the young people involved meant the project’s aims were embedded within its core.
Young people are concerned about financial security, they want a fulfilling and enjoyable job and effective mental health support in the workplace. They want to know more about the opportunities available to them and would like to see more links between schools and industry and for more information on non-academic routes to be supplied to them and careers advisors.
- 66% of those who are not in education/training would consider going back into education/training and 46% of this group would do so if they had financial help.
- A lack of work experience is currently the top barrier to employment and 47% say that getting that work experience would be the most useful thing for them right now.
- 35% reported mental health issues. The presenters also emphasised that that figure is likely to be an underreported.
- 27% are working from home and over half of this group say they are not confident in working from home and want more support/training
Read the full report here.
Here at SMRS we constantly on the lookout for the latest in youth research. If you would like to understand more about young people and how our research findings can inform your marketing strategy, please contact us here.