Millennials, Gen Zers and Anxiety Consumerism

Have you heard of the latest trend hitting the retail industry? It’s called anxiety consumerism. A trend that sadly has been brought to the fore due to the rising number of people diagnosed with anxiety. Currently, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting about 18% of the adult population and a whopping 25% of the child population. So, it’s clear to see why the market for products built to calm us down has been busted wide open. The past few years have seen a jump in sales for products such as adult coloring books and essential oils and diffusers. And more recently, for products like fidget spinners and weighted blankets –  this time with marketing aimed more towards the younger group suffering from this mental health condition.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see anxiety taking over every generation in this country. Our study, 8 Truths About Gen Z from 2016 predicted this very trend, stating that their “off-the-charts anxiety” that stemmed from growing up during a stage of crisis would move them to seek out ways to gain calmness and peace of mind. And this stage of crisis doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. With the shaky worldwide political landscape, major natural disasters happening every year and the day-to-day struggle between the Haves and Have-Nots these young teens are only growing into young adults with anxiety. Is there any hope for this dire situation?

As a follow up to our previous study, we were curious to find out exactly how the younger generations are learning to cope with their anxiety. Our latest infographic, Understanding Anxiety in Gen Z and Millennials (July 2018), finds a multitude of coping strategies named, however none of the products listed above make it into the top 5.

While it remains to be seen what happens with the overall anxiety epidemic taking over the country, and if anxiety consumerism will really take off, it’s good to know that people are becoming more self-aware and are taking action with their health and wellness.

Looking for more on mental health? Click here for our Millennials and Mental Health infographic.

8 Truths About Gen Z

In our latest study, we talked to the newest ‘it’ group of consumers in the UK and US and uncovered 8 Truths About Gen Z. They shared it all, from their attitudes and behaviors, to their deepest and most intimate concerns. For a sneak peek on what we found out, download our new infographic now.

8 Truths About Gen Z  Download our NEW infographic now


Now Arriving: Gen Z

Millennials, millennials, millennials – so many of our clients are focused on Millennials and how to adapt their marketing strategies to this evolving consumer group. What characterizes them? How are they different? What drives them? As we complete each study and I think we’ve exhausted the conversation, we find ourselves once again pulled into the Millennial vortex. But don’t look now – here comes Gen Z. We have just released our first study on this group, whose habits, thoughts, emotions and more will be keeping marketers up at night next. So why is it important to keep examining a group in context? Why can’t we broad stroke and make blanket statements about consumer groups or generations, and just be done with it?

8 Truths About Gen Z  Download our NEW infographic now

That’s the question posed in this WSJ article. Usually generations are defined by their similar birth years, with spans of 20 years. But often these are fuzzy in setting definitions. Typically, academics and researchers look at ‘generations’ to identify the distinct group’s characteristics which, through comparison with previous generations, serve to measure social and cultural change. But this approach misses the nuances within and between the groups. And the nuances are where the marketing opportunity exists.

Our new Gen Z study looks into the factors driving Gen Z behavior – the fears, concerns, influencers and even the heroes that define this group. We compare and contrast Gen Z and Millennials, both of whom live in a mobile-centric world but view their increasingly, technology- and data-driven existence differently. So just when you thought you had mastered Millennials, it’s time to get to know the new kids on the block. Isn’t Marketing fun? Sure does keep us on our toes!

Gen Z Infographic

Millennials and Nutrition

There is an undeniable allure about BuzzFeed’s Tasty videos that have taken over Facebook in recent months. The flash of color from various ingredients, the mouthwatering sizzle of meats and the perfect organization of spice bowls on a minimalistic background makes it hard to tear your eyes away. Based on these three aspects alone, it makes a whole lot of sense that these videos have become wildly popular on Facebook these days.

However, I found myself confused by their sudden popularity – regardless of how aesthetically pleasing these videos were to the eye. I am surrounded by friends and family who pride themselves on eating a consistently clean, incredibly green diet; the kind of people who would have a full body reaction at the mere mention of eating something that was not plucked from the earth. Yet I found the same people fawning over how delicious and great the Tasty videos were, despite the seemingly endless piles of cheese present in several recipes.

Interestingly enough, watching any Tasty video provides immense insight into Millennial (or Gen Y – take your pick) eating trends and nutritional habits. As a Millennial myself, the Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese video was the first Tasty video that caught my attention.



The combination of all of my favorite things – food, organization and upbeat music – made it difficult to break my attention. I do not particularly enjoy either spinach artichoke dip or mac and cheese, yet I found myself wanting to prepare this dish for myself.

It turns out that Tasty’s enticement factor goes far beyond than its video design.

In a 2015 BuzzBack study, it was noted that the process of eating food was not seen as a means of survival amongst Millennials, but rather as an experience to be had. When prompted to think about “food” and “nutrition,” Millennials first thought about the “food experience,” which is the external projection of self via what they consume upon their peers, then “taste,” and finally “quality.” The actual components – protein, fat content, sugar, calories, etc. – of food, however, were revealed to be secondary thoughts amongst this demographic. This indicates that nutritional eating, while important, is not a primary concern to Millennials.

As noted by the same 2015 BuzzBack study (and perhaps by the behavior of my friends and family as well), Millennials do prize nutrition, but with the occasional indulgence.


 Want to learn about how Gen Z views food? Download our 8 Truths About Gen Z infographic and find out.

8 Truths About Gen Z  Download our NEW infographic now

So, what does this have to do with those mouthwatering Tasty videos?

In short, Tasty provides Millennial viewers with the ultimate food experience. With a simple “like” or share of a Tasty video on the Millennial’s social media account, they can indicate to their social sphere the kinds of food they like and what they can prepare. The close-up shots of the Spinach Artichoke Mac & Cheese slowly baking caters to the Millennial need of taste and quality. However, what is absent, but certainly not to the Millennial chagrin, is the nutritional value of each ingredient. It is yet another step for the Millennial viewer to learn about the nutritional value of their meal, which highlights that nutrition has taken the backseat amongst this demographic. This is not necessarily a bad thing, however.

As our 2015 study mentions, a company that is able to seamlessly blend nutrition and indulgence will be in a grand position for success amongst Millennials in the future. Given that Tasty is constantly updating its channel with new recipes and receiving millions of views, likes and shares across several social media platforms, it is safe to say that Tasty has successfully summarized what it means to eat as a Millennial in 2016.

Want to learn more about Gen Z? Our new Gen Z study looks into the factors driving Gen Z behavior – the fears, concerns, influencers and even the heroes that define this group. Download our 8 Truths About Gen Z infographic to learn more.