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America Now: Life Priorities Across Generations

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America Now: Life Priorities Across Generations

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on for a snapshot of American generations’ current priorities in life.

Understanding Americans’ priorities and life values offers crucial context into how consumers make choices. Personal values often stem from cultural context, such as each generation’s unique upbringing. While one’s outlook on life usually remains stable over time, the pandemic sparked a massive reevaluation of priorities as Americans grappled with uncertainty and unexpected life changes. Brands must stay abreast of these changing consumer tides by getting back to basics: understanding their target consumers on a core level through current attitudinal and values-based data.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research presentation,  America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020.

America Now

In a recent study, Collage Group asked Americans about the top three things they consider important to living a good life (such as good health, financial stability, healthy relationships, a job that they love, being well-educated, or experiencing new things). Our data shows that younger Americans tend to desire a more well-rounded lifestyle, spreading priorities across many of these areas of life. Older generations, by contrast, approach life more traditionally—strongly valuing health and finances while de-emphasizing other topics.

These generational differences can be partly explained by socio-historical context. Boomers and Gen Xers grew up during a time period where the ethos was the “American dream.” Hard work was—and still is—highly valued by them and viewed as a direct path to success.

Just decades later, Millennials and Gen Zers each came of age in a rapidly changing world with turbulent political and economic circumstances (Millennials, the 2008 recession; Gen Z, the COVID-19 pandemic). This upbringing tainted their worldview, calling the “American dream” into question entirely. In turn, younger generations cope with cynicism by taking on a “YOLO” (“you only live once”) attitude. They try to enjoy life while they can rather than wasting too much of their life working towards a version of success they’ll never attain.

While historical context explains a core part of each generation’s outlook on life, it doesn’t mean that people’s attitudes and values are locked in permanently. Times of massive change and uncertainty, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can be the spark for deep realignment of social values. We are already seeing this trend in our data.

For example, Gen X and Boomers, two generations that have historically valued more traditional life goals and prioritized work over happiness. When asked explicitly about how their personal and professional priorities changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds say that being happy and healthy is more important than it was a year prior. In fact, the data is on par with Gen Z and Millennials. This is evidence of values shifting and even converging across generations. Moreover, this data point indicates that wellness is a growing area of opportunity for the total market despite conventional wisdom that it’s a Gen Z and Millennial fad.

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America Now: Acculturation and Afro-Hispanic Identity

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America Now: Acculturation & Afro-Hispanic Identity

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn how acculturation and race impact Hispanic identity.

As more Americans embrace intersectional identities, you may be wondering what that means for the Hispanic population which is anything but monolithic. One of the most talked about intersections in recent years are Afro-Hispanics (sometimes referred to as Afro-Latinos), individuals with origins in Spanish speaking countries that identify as black or African American.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research presentation,  America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020.

America Now

According to recent data from the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of Hispanic adults self-describe as having darker skin. This proportion largely tracks with Collage Group’s data from September 2021, in which 22 percent of Hispanic respondents do not identify as “White” and about 12 percent identify as Black or African American.

Within this sub-set, Black Hispanics balance the importance of their racial identity and Hispanic heritage. Among respondents identifying as both Black and Hispanic, 45 percent – almost half – say their race is one of the most important components of the way they describe themselves. Just over half – 51 percent – say the same of their Hispanic or Latino heritage.

For these Black Hispanics, racial identity is important partially because they believe it puts them at a disadvantage in society. Pew finds that about 6 in 10 Hispanic adults agree that:

    • Having a darker skin color hurts Latinos’ ability to get ahead
    • Having a lighter skin color helps Latinos’ ability to get ahead
    • Skin colors shape their daily lives and experiences

Given these high numbers, and recent controversies over colorism in the casting in productions like In the Heights and Crazy Rich Asians, it’s essential for brands to recognize the importance of diversity within multicultural segments. And it’s clear that Afro-Hispanic Americans aren’t impressed with how they’re currently being portrayed.

While a slim majority of Hispanic Americans say they’re satisfied with how their ethnicity is portrayed in advertisements, most Black Americans are not, and even fewer Afro-Hispanic Americans say they like what they see when it comes to seeing themselves in ads. Further, Afro-Hispanics’ dissatisfaction with their portrayals in advertisements demonstrates the importance of telling diverse, culturally-nuanced stories in marketing content. Even though a brand may be working towards creating content more inclusive of Hispanic and Black consumers, that might not translate to intersectional identity segments of Americans.

Here are three suggestions for marketing to consumers who navigate between their Black and Hispanic identities:

    1. Don’t make them choose. Black and Hispanic identity are both salient for this segment, but many feel “forced to choose” between their identities. Reinforce the empowering idea that they can identify as both fully Black and Hispanic.
    2. Find country-of-origin intersections. Many Caribbean and Latin American communities are predominantly Black, challenging American conceptions of race and ethnicity. Tell stories from their perspective to ensure they feel authentically portrayed.
    3. Be inclusive of the overlap. Black Hispanics are just as much part of the Black community as they are the Hispanic community. Represent this segment and their needs in marketing to both Black and Hispanic consumers.
  1.  

Other Data Notes:

Among Biracial Hispanic/Black Americans, 58% say their race is important to their identity, while only 15% say their Hispanic/Latino heritage. Race is the most important identity consideration for this population, at 32%, and 13% say Hispanic/Latino heritage takes first spot.

Acculturation associates with increased importance of Ethnicity, lessened importance of race. Unacculturated/Bicultural Hispanics are MORE likely to say being Hispanic/Latino is important to them.

Gen X is most likely to say Hispanic/Latino heritage is the most important identity consideration (49%).

Source: Pew Research, “Majority of Latinos Say Skin Color Impacts Opportunity in America and Shapes Daily Life,” November 4, 2021

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America Now: Economic Inequality

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America Now: Economic Inequality

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn how Americans feel about income inequality in the United States today.

Income inequality is a significant issue in the United States today, especially for many non-White Americans. Data from the Federal Reserve shows that the top 10 percent of earners in the country hold almost 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. And findings from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances reveal that White families’ median wealth ($188,200) is almost eight times that of Black families ($24,100) and five times that of Hispanic ($36,100) families. Brands and companies have an opportunity to connect with diverse America by understanding their perceptions on income inequality and taking steps to address the gap.

In a recent survey, we asked Americans how serious of a problem they feel economic inequality to be in the country today. While almost half of all Americans believe it’s a “serious problem”, Black and Hispanic Americans were much more likely to hold this belief. Non-Hispanic White respondents are clearly divided on this issue based on party affiliation – with 60% of White Democrats viewing it as a serious problem compared to only 26% of Republicans.

Multicultural Americans – Especially Black Americans – Are More Likely to See Economic Inquality as a Serious Problem in the Country

White Democrats Are Far More Likely than White Republicans to View it as Such

% of respondents who rated economic inequality in the country today as a very serious problem

* White demographic breakdown: Democrat 60%, Republican 26%, Other 40%

Further, when asked what political and societal issues were most important to them in today’s climate, 27% of Black Americans named reducing economic inequality followed closely by Asian Americans (24%) and Hispanic Americans (22%). For White Americans, the percentage who listed reducing economic inequality as a top three priority issue, was far lower. However, far more White Democratic Americans listed it as a top issue.

Multicultural Americans Are Also More Likely than White Americans to Believe that Reducing Economic Inequality is Personally Important 

One reason may be the wealth gap between white American and black and Hispanic Americans. 

Reducing economic inequality is one of the three most important issues to me:

* White demographic breakdown: Democrat 24%, Republican 8%, Other 14%

And it is not just that multicultural Americans are more sensitive to income inequality—they’re also more willing to reward brands that take active steps to reduce it. In fact, 40% of Asian Americans, 39% of Black Americans, and 34% of Hispanic Americans share this sentiment, compared to just 27% of White Americans. Again, White Democrats are more closely aligned to the multicultural segment – 43% of White Democrats are more likely to buy from brands who support reducing income inequality, compared to only 15% of White Republicans.

And They Are More Likely to Reward Brands that Step Up in this Space

White Democrats align closely to the Multicultural Segment in their preferences; 30% of Americans are more likely to buy from brands that support reducing income inequality.

* White demographic breakdown: Democrat 43%, Republican 15%, Other 24%

Now you may be thinking, what can my brand do to address a systemic issue as challenging as income inequality? The answer: quite a lot! Below are some examples of what brands and companies are doing.
    • Costco, among other retailers, recently raised their minimum wage way above state and federal mandates. The move resulted in significant media attention.
    • Mastercard has launched the Center for Inclusive Growth ; their twitter page (@CNTR4growth), provides daily updates and insights for the public.
    • Noodles & Co teamed up with the app Even to offer instant pay options to their employees as well as a suite of financial wellness tools that include budgeting and organizational guidance.
Sources:
    • Federal Reserve Data. “Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S. Since 1989.” October 2021.
    • Federal Reserve Data. “Disparities in Wealth by Race and Ethnicity in the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances.” Sept 28, 2020.
    • ABC News. “Costco raises minimum wage to $17 an hour as businesses hike pay to retain workers.” October 28, 2021.
    • Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Mastercardcenter.org
    • Payments Dive. “Noodles & Co. teams with Even.com on financial wellness benefits.” September 16, 2019.

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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

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CultureRate: Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects in Ads

Using our CultureRate database, we analyzed over 500 brands and 100 ads gathered across the last 12 months to establish a set of lessons that help marketers better connect with today’s “New Wave” consumers between 18 and 41, across race and ethnicity.

June 7, 2022
David Evans – Chief Product Officer

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Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our CultureRate:Brand – Better Target Your Brand While Driving Halo Effects presentation.

Brands Are Challenged by Rising Cultural Diversity and Polarization

As shown in research accompanying this initiative, marketing and insights leaders face increasing pressure to translate the rapid cultural transformation underway in the U.S. marketplace into clear action steps for brands. From 2020 to 2021, we witnessed an astonishing 10 percentage point-plus increase in the already-high importance of race and ethnicity for multicultural consumers, even as satisfaction of portrayals fell by an average of 8 percentage points.

Multicultural American support brands that support them

One thing is for certain: the increase in multicultural consciousness that arose in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns and George Floyd’s murder has not reverted to norm. Cultural Fluency is emerging as a new mandate for marketing as a whole, and can no longer be understood as a sideshow to the main act of mainstream marketing. Cultural Fluency demands that brands use culture to connect effectively and authentically within and across segments.

How CultureRate:Ad Reveals Powerful New Insights

To address these issues, we launched CultureRate in 2018, a brand and creative evaluation methodology that is now providing our members with powerful new insights into brand and ad performance across cultural groups.

CultureRate is different from any anything on the market today, in four distinct ways:

    • Culture is Intrinsic to the Entire Approach: CultureRate positions culture as the primary lens through which to understand diverse segments.
    • CultureRate is Grounded in Science of Group Emotion and Rationality: Our approach is based on long-ignored research into the psychology of group emotion and emerging insights from evolutionary psychology into the role of rationality as a mechanism for signaling group affiliation. CultureRate breaks new ground by fully recognizing that consumers not only make decisions to buy products on a path toward optimization of personal net benefits and self-actualization, but also make decisions as a member of group. We have learned nothing since 2016, if not the importance of this phenomenon and the degree to which it completely reframes our understanding of human behavior.
    • Rigorously Validated Metrics: We undertook an exhaustive process to identify metrics that matter, identifying the six most critical component metrics for CultureRate:Brand through an exhaustive review of 20 candidate metrics to derive the critical six that optimally reflected cultural dimensions while predicting brand favorability.
    • Linkage to Cultural Traits of Consumers: methodology is integrated within Collage Group’s Cultural Traits system, a rigorously proven method for measuring cultural variation, that enables marketing professions to link how using cultural insights into specific segments improve ad and brand effectiveness. Explore how Cultural Trait analysis works when applied to Black consumers

Unrivaled Rigor and Database Depth

The methodology introduces two important new metrics: the Brand Cultural Fluency Quotient (B-CFQ) and the Ad Cultural Fluency Quotient (A-CFQ), composed of six and four subcomponent metrics respectively, both of which were designed to optimally predict favorability and purchase intent. A-CFQ is also complemented by Backlash, which takes conventional brand favorability a step further by quantifying the degree to which an ad can “flip” perception from positive to negative or vice versa. Combining A-CFQ and Backlash metrics for target segments reveal the dynamics that make ads successful.

Top Lessons for More Inclusive Marketing

For this research we filtered our database to derive a high-quality sample of around 250,000 consumer responses to over 300 brands and 100 ads for the population of 18-41 year old Americans we dub the “New Wave.”  We focus on this younger segment because it is the first in American history to grow up in a culturally and intrinsically diverse environment and thereby redefining the future of values and respect for diversity that will make or break brands in the next years. Our research into brand performance revealed that:
    • Brands need to appreciate the different reasons multicultural Americans love brands.
    • Multicultural consumers are much more likely to appreciate brands when they specifically see that the brand is for “people like me.” Gain an edge: go to extremes to show how your brand is for multicultural Americans. 
    • Trust is a game changer for Black Americans. Lean into opportunities to show how your brand has supported the segment, how your brand embodies values core to the segment, and/or connects to the Black Group Trait of Perseverance.
    • Hispanic Americans’ uniquely express their affiliation for a brand through their willingness to advocate for the brand to others. Leverage Hispanic Group Traits of Warmth and being Tuned-In to prime them to be a trend-setter on your behalf. Give Hispanic consumers a reason to talk about your brand and they will reward you with mentions, word of mouth and other opportunities to drive earned media attention.

Our research into ad performance revealed that:

    • Halo effects are much more common than you think, even as targeted ads remain important, especially for Black and Hispanic consumers
2021 Top 20 Ads: Black Halo Effects
    • Brands can drive inclusivity by showing how consumers are part of a spectrum of shared experience. Associate Black or Hispanic agency with the Passion Points of other groups.
    • Cross-generational familial bonds provide immense power for storytelling: The extended family relationships of younger consumers are your unsung opportunity.
    • Black consumers will punish you for poor representational choices, especially on themes that are universal. Ensure any “vignette” approach to a universal experience includes Black people.
    • Culturally-specific humor may not halo well. Increase the reliability of halo effects by appealing to universal themes of Connection (family, friends, and community).
    • Social justice messages that address multicultural issues work well when the consumers see the direct benefit of an investment in opportunity for real people.
    • The preferences of White consumers may be a poor guide for the general market appeal.

Collage Group members receive one free evaluation of a brand and of an ad of your choice. Members frequently combine CultureRate:Brand and CultureRate:Ad analyses to track how changes in advertising performance impact brand performance over time. Contact us at the form below to learn more.

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Other Recent Multicultural Research Articles & Insights from Collage Group

David Evans
Chief Product Officer

David serves as the Chief Product Officer responsible for content, data products, and innovation. He is passionate about creating amazing products and building great places to work.

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Holidays and Occasions: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s

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Holidays and Occasions: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s

Learn how American consumers across racial and ethnic segments prepare for and celebrate the winter holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s.

The beginning of winter brings a multitude of holidays for Americans to celebrate. While revelers will still have to cope with COVID-19 protocols during the 2021 festivities, vaccines and experience may better equip Americans to celebrate more openly this year than last. With an eye toward shifts in consumer behavior we bring you our updated findings from the 2021 Holidays & Occasions study to help your brand understand consumers’ changing expectations and how they plan to celebrate during this holiday season.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research presentation,  Multicultural Holidays & Occasions.

Christmas is one of the most beloved and widely celebrated holidays in America. Over three-quarters of each racial and ethnic segment celebrate it, with its highest popularity among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Americans. Consumers from many backgrounds celebrate the holiday by enjoying seasonal food, listening to Christmas music, and putting up festive decorations.

However, multicultural consumers say that their Christmas celebrations often differ from typical depictions. Cultural nuance at Christmas is key information for brands producing traditional Christmas marketing content as it may land as unrelatable to some Americans consumers. often Over a quarter of Hispanic and Asian consumers agreed that their versions of Christmas celebrations split from a standard “American Christmas.” This is often the case because of the inclusion of cultural celebrations.

Christmas celebration traditions

Hispanics often celebrate Christmas through several holidays such as Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), Three Kings Day (January 6th), Las Posadas (the 9 nights leading up to Christmas), and Tamaladas (a Christmastime tamale-making party). Highlighting these holidays activities during the winter months is a great way to connect with Hispanic consumers.

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day holiday observed on the 25th day of Kislev (typically in December). Also known as the festival of lights, this holiday is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. Though fewer than one in ten Americans celebrate the holiday, over a third of all consumers actively welcome brands to celebrate it through advertising and marketing efforts.

American retailer Target was able to successfully do this in their most recent holiday ad campaign “The Holidays Are Meant To Be Shared” which features a family celebrating Hanukkah by lighting the menorah, among several other different holiday activities.

Kwanzaa, a seven-night holiday observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, is a holiday to honor African American and Pan-African culture and traditions and celebrates African American unity. Though not widely popular with the total population, the holiday holds great importance for many Black Americans. According to our study, 18% of Black Americans celebrate Kwanzaa. This is also a holiday for brands to consider celebrating. About 30% of Black consumers agreed that all brands should celebrate Kwanzaa in their advertising. This provides the opportunity for brands to highlight Kwanzaa and its traditions to educate Americans unfamiliar with the holiday and connect with Black consumers.

Finally, New Year’s also provides brands an opportunity to be the life of the party. New Year’s is celebrated by most Americans across all ethnic groups, though Hispanics are particularly likely to enjoy the festivities. Although sparkling wine is typically a toasting drink to usher in the new year, other alcoholic beverages play a prominent role in the celebration. Hispanic consumers are most likely to drink beer and hard cider during their celebrations, while Black consumers are most likely to drink liquor/spirits.

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn how Gen Z women stand out for their prioritization of reducing sexism.

2017 was a pivotal year for women in the U.S. The day after President Trump was inaugurated, millions of Americans across the U.S. participated in the largest single-day protest – The Women’s March – to support gender equality and protest the President’s anti-women statements. Later that year, the #MeToo movement gained momentum as more women broke their silence as survivors of sexual abuse and revealed the prevalence of sexual violence against women. With increased visibility on women’s issues, women have reported that their gender identity has become more important to them over the past few years. This is especially true of Gen Z women; 55% agree that their gender is now a more important aspect of their identity than it used to be. Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how Americans’ identities shape their views on social and political issues, and what they expect from brands like yours in engaging with these issues.

In a recent study, Collage Group asked Americans what three social and political issues are most important to them and found that Gen Z women are unique in wanting to see the reduction of sexism in society. 33% of Gen Z women feel reducing sexism is one of the most important social or political issues today, compared to just 10% of Millennial women, 7% of Gen X women, and 3% of Boomer women.

Gen Z women’s perceptions on the importance of reducing sexism is even more pronounced when it comes to their support of brands. Over half of Gen Z women will reward brands that support reducing sexism. And while older women tend to prioritize other social and political issues over sexism, many are still more likely to support brands that will confront sexism.

Across generations, women want brands to address sexism by paying them equally to men for the same jobs and offering training for employees so they can identify sexism and combat it. Gen Z women, however, stand out from older women by wanting brands to address sexism in other ways too. Half of Gen Z women also want brands to hire women to leadership positions. And over one in four want brands to make public statements about sexism and donate money to organizations that work to reduce sexism.

Contact us to find out how you can access the full America Now report with these insights and much more.

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

One in Four Gen Z Consumers Will Stop Buying from Brands That Do Not Take a Stance on an Important Issue

November 10th, 2021
Mollie Turner – Senior Director of Marketing

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American consumers are experiencing a second year of unprecedented change, giving 2020 solid competition for an emerging set of challenges for U.S. businesses. Political polarization, COVID-19, race relations, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change have been top of mind for consumers this year–leading to shifts in consumer expectations of businesses.

“Most Americans want brands to engage in social and political issues,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group CEO and Co-Founder. “The numbers are even more striking when we look by specific issues. For example, 85% of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact. And, then there’s the stick—we see younger Americans, bicultural Hispanics, and Black Americans are much more willing to penalize brands for non-action on issues they see as important.”

These are just a few of the many datapoints on shifts in American consumer behaviors since 2020 available in Collage Group’s America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020 report. Research led by Chief Product Officer David Evans, Senior Director of Product & Content Bryan Miller, PhD, and Director of Product & Content Jack Mackinnon, unveils changes to diverse consumer attitudes at a key juncture in American history. The results come from a survey fielded in September 2021 of 3,785 Americans, representing Americans across race, ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender.

Fill out the form to view a recording and download a sample from our research presentation, Multicultural America Now.

Multicultural America Now

Key insights illuminated in the research include:

  1. Most Americans (58%) Want Brands to Engage in Social and Political Issues
      • Stopping COVID-19, improving race relations and halting climate change are the top three social and political issues consumers want brands to support.
      • The majority (85%) of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact.
      • The majority (59%) of Americans believe corporations bear the responsibility of fighting climate change – not individuals.
      • The majority (55%) of consumers across all generations acknowledge the urgency of taking action on climate change.
  2. Race and Ethnicity is the #1 Way Multicultural Americans Self-Identify, Regardless of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, or Sexuality­
      • Race and Hispanic ethnicity are the most common self-descriptors for multicultural Americans, ranking higher than personality, age/life stage, country of origin, being American, sexuality, gender and more.
      • Multicultural Americans report an increased interest in buying from brands that support people of their racial and ethnic background—an ~11% increase on average in 2021 comes on top of a 2020 baseline of ~52% of consumers.
  3. Empathetic Gen Z Support Black and LGBTQ+ Americans Much More Than Older Generations (+15%)
      • The majority of Gen Z consumers wants brands to support women (56%) and Black Americans (55%).
      • Inaction is risky for brands with younger consumers, as 26% of Gen Z would stop using or buying a brand if it did not take a stance on an important issue.
  4. COVID-19 Worries Remain for Two-Thirds of Americans, and Their Concern Is Tied Primarily to Economic Factors (64%)
      • Nearly two-thirds of Americans are still concerned about COVID-19, with Asian Americans feeling the most concern at 72%, up 4% since 2020.
      • Most Americans (64%) are concerned they may not have enough money to keep up with monthly expenses; Hispanic Americans are the most concerned with 3 in 4 (74%) citing the concern.
  5. Many Multicultural Americans Have Reprioritized What Matters Most to Them vs. One Year Ago
      • Multicultural Americans say being happy and healthy (41%), saving money (33%) and supporting family and community (27%) are now their top priorities.
      • The majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans say being healthy and happy is much more important to them today than it was one year ago.

“Engaging authentically with an increasingly diverse America can be hard, and missteps are easy,” says David Wellisch. “But our research illustrates that not engaging is not an option, especially during challenging times. This is consumer expectation.”

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Mollie Turner

Mollie Turner
Senior Director of Marketing

Mollie Turner is the Senior Director of Marketing at Collage Group where she leads growth, engagement and brand initiatives. She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive, with 20 years of experience spanning B2B, non-profit and agency roles across various industries.

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Friendsgiving 2021: How Should My Brand Celebrate?

Friendsgiving 2021: How Should My Brand Celebrate?

It’s not too late to activate! With over 30% of Americans (and 40% of Gen Z and Millennials) celebrating “Friendsgiving,” brands will want to make their mark on this growing tradition. Keep reading to learn what consumers expect from brands like yours this Friendsgiving.

“Friendsgiving” is a holiday tradition adjacent to Thanksgiving. It’s an opportunity for friends to gather with friends in addition to, or instead of, with family. While Friendsgiving may sound like the latest fad or a “cutesy” holiday, it’s a legitimate way younger generations celebrate—and it’s likely to stick around.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how younger American consumers celebrate the Thanksgiving season, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is ​Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is an informal bonus holiday that started gaining traction in 2013. The origin is unclear, but the term caught on via social media and it’s surged in popularity with younger Americans in recent years. Nowadays, Friendsgiving is a seasonal staple with about four in ten Gen Z and Millennials celebrating.

Holiday Stress Chart

Friendsgiving celebrations often take place sometime before Thanksgiving, as a precursor to the big day. But for many young adults who live far away from home and family, Friendsgiving acts as a substitute to the more formal family feast. It’s also a reflection of shifting family dynamics. Young adults today are delaying marriage and parenthood at greater rates than previous generations. This factors into their emphasis on friends, neighbors, and coworkers as a “chosen” family.

Moreover, almost half of Gen Z and Millennials cite amily as a source of stress around holidays. It’s no wonder, then, that many turn to their friends for comfort and joy.

Friendsgiving Celebrations

Since Friendsgiving is such a new way to celebrate Thanksgiving, it isn’t confined to the well-established traditions of Turkey Day. Rather, it’s open to interpretation—which may be just what individualistic younger generations find appealing about it. Many Friendsgiving celebrants incorporate a mix of classic Thanksgiving elements and personal flair. This means that brands have ample room to play in connecting with younger generations for Friendsgiving.

One way that Gen Z and Millennials are evolving Thanksgiving-season celebrations is by including non-traditional foods. Two-thirds of younger Americans do this, likely driven by the generations’ inherent diversity as well as their desire for novelty. Friendsgiving, free of socially imposed “rules,” offers the perfect opportunity to try out new and exciting flavors, experiment with recipes, or to share one’s culture through food.

Graph illustrating groups that have more than Thanksgiving dishes

Brand Activation

Two brands that have developed an excellent Friendsgiving campaign that appeals to Gen Z and Millennials are Amazon and S.Pellegrino. These brands partnered together in 2020 to create a virtual, shoppable “Guide to Friendsgiving.” The online storefront features videos and recipes by Kristen Kish, an LGBTQ+ Korean-American culinary expert and Top Chef championIn this pandemic-friendly activation, Kish connects with her friends via video chat to recreate their favorite recipes with a twist. From the site, shoppers can download recipes and purchase ingredients to be delivered by Amazon Fresh.

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Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

Diwali 2021: What Should My Brand Do?

It’s not too late to activate! With two thirds of Indian Americans celebrating Diwali, brands will want to make their mark on this important holiday. Keep reading to learn what Asian consumers expect from brands like yours on this festival of lights.

Diwali is one of the major festivals celebrated among Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and many Buddhists. The holiday lasts five days, and it coincides with the Hindu New Year according to their lunisolar calendar. Though it falls on November 4 this year, Diwali has some similarities to other winter and New Year’s celebrations, and comes with distinct cultural traditions.

Read on for key facts about the holiday, insights on how Asian American consumers celebrate, and ideas for how your brand can get involved.

What is Diwali?

Diwali honors the conclusion of the Ramayana, a key Hindu text and one of two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It celebrates the triumphant return of Prince Rama after a 14-year exile, the rescue of his wife Sita, and his coronation as king. Rejoicing in Rama’s victories, Diwali celebrants honor light itself amidst the darkness of coming winter.  And for many Asian Americans, Diwali is an explicitly religious holiday, with the Goddess Lakshmi – symbolizing wealth and purity – a key focus.

Traditions of Diwali​

    • Candles and firecrackers are popular in Diwali celebrations, with diya oil lamps one of the more traditional means of proving light in the darkness
    • Rangoli is an art form common in Diwali preparations, where colored sand, flower petals, rocks, and powdered stone are arranged in colorful, patterned designs on a flat surface
    • Sweet foods are a traditional component of Diwali celebrations, with many preparing malpua pancakes, laddu balls, and other fare to eat and share
    • Puja is a worship ritual common among Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. On Diwali, offerings of light, flowers, sustenance, or song accompany these rituals, largely directed towards the Goddess Lakshmi

Among Indian Americans, having special food and drink is the most common way to celebrate Diwali. Eating and gifting sweets is therefore a key component of American Diwali, but many other customs – including fireworks, clothing, decorations, and religious ceremonies – are also popular.

Key Consumer Insights

According to Collage Group’s 2021 Holidays and Occasions study, 13% of the Asian American population celebrates Diwali, with 67% of Indian Americans making up the bulk of celebrants. Diwali therefore has a niche, but dedicated market.

Which means many brands may be wondering if they have permission to play.

Among Indian Americans, brands largely have a green light to focus on education. Most Indian Americans say brands should use their Diwali activations to explain what the holiday is and why it’s important, given that half of Americans – and 42% of Asian Americans – are not familiar with the festival at all. And Many Indian Americans also support brands sharing stories of people observing the holiday, as well as showing others what they can do to help celebrate.

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Travel & Hospitality: Five Key Insights for Engaging Multicultural Consumer Preferences

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Travel & Hospitality: Five Key Insights for Engaging Multicultural Consumer Preferences

As a second pandemic summer comes to an end, many Americans are planning their holiday travel amidst consistent and lasting changes to their preferences and expectations of the travel and hospitality industries. For marketing and consumer insights professionals in travel and hospitality, understanding these shifts in diverse consumer behavior is vital to improving short- and long-term brand engagement strategies.

Collage Group’s latest Passion Points research unveils how American consumers across racial and ethnic segments engage with travel, and which segments care most deeply about this important aspect of American life. Passion Points are the activities and areas of life people are deeply interested in. They are the “things” that people prioritize when spending their time, money, and attention. And they are concrete expressions of culture.

Brands apply Passion Points to both extend reach and deepen connection with America’s multicultural consumers. These activations can vary, from authentic creative and brand positioning to partnerships and sponsorships. In all cases, Passion Point research provides critical insight for understanding which activations will be most successful.

Download an excerpt of our research for travel-related attitudes and behaviors marketers and insights leaders can use to connect with diverse America. And read below for five key insights for engaging multicultural consumer travel preferences.

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on consumer attitudes and behaviors around Travel & Hospitality.

Passion Points - Travel

1. Most Americans are Eager to Travel

While many Americans remain concerned about the safety and health of traveling amidst the pandemic, most Americans are eager to travel, with Acculturated Hispanic and Asian Americans leading the pack at 74%.

Most American are Eager to Travel after COVID-19

2. And More than Half of Americans Want to See the World

Despite a preference for traveling domestically, 55% of Americans say they have a strong urge to see the world, with Black and Asian consumers saying they are most interested in traveling abroad.

Many Americans Report a Strong Urge to see the World

3. 1 in 3 Americans Have a Favorite Travel Destination

Many Americans may already know where they want to travel. While one-third of Americans say they have a preferred vacation or travel destination, Black consumers are the least likely – at 23%.

One in three Americans have a favorite travel destination

4. Consumer Preferences for How They Travel Vary Across Race and Ethnicity, and Asian Americans Enjoy Flying the Most

The experience of flying is most enjoyed by Asian Americans (63%), while less than half of Hispanic consumers say they enjoy the experience. However, Hispanic consumers show great variation in their preference for flying across acculturation levels.

Asian Americans most enjoy the experience of flying

5. And a Large Majority of Consumers Enjoy Road Trips

Many Americans may be taking to the roads for holiday travel, as more than 75% say they enjoy road trips. Make sure not to miss the extreme variations across Hispanic acculturation: Unacculturated Hispanics are the least likely to enjoy the road (15%), while acculturated Hispanic consumers prefer this method of travel (78%).

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