Hot Stuff

Twentysomethings

In a nutshell, today's twentysomethings are generally seeking and preparing for a bright future-but they're doing it in the most modern manner. Whether by embracing "digital living," as marketing consulting firm The Zandl Group calls it, or by redefining the boundaries of love and marriage, this set of increasingly affluent consumers ranges from unsettled adults still clinging to their teenage years to heads of top Internet companies earning $1 million or more a year.

Trading stocks, shopping and meeting people online top the list of "What's Getting Cooler" in the digital living arena, according to The Zandl Group's findings. Retro fever ('80s music and cocktails rated highest in the retro category) also tickles the fancies of today's go-getters.

Although they're not a generation born into high-tech, twentysomethings find the efficiency they crave by shopping at e-commerce businesses. Content-commerce models that partner with big-name lifestyle brands-from Food & Wine magazine to J. Crew-fare well, giving users one-stop destinations for their wining and dining, clothing and travel needs.

As for domestic twentysomethings, Rutgers University's National Marriage Project study, released in July, found a 43 percent drop in the marriage rate from 1960 to 1996 due to later-in-life marriages and unmarried cohabitation. With the latter in mind, demand is increasing for traditional appliances with a new-retro feel and furnishings able to capture the essence of busy lives.

With lifestyles running the gamut from eclectic to traditional, twentysomethings aren't an easy category to peg or market to. As long as you present them with products and services so they can live in style-and affordably doesn't hurt-without trying to force-feed your concept, you'll win over this up-and-coming generation of high-end shoppers.

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This article was originally published in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hot Stuff.

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