The National Youth Study 2015

The National Youth Study is the predecessor of the Nordic Youth Study 2016. 15/30 Research has a ten-year-old history in investigating the Finnish youth and the trends emerging among them. This year the research has been scaled up to the nordic level. 


“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” - Seth Godin

1. Young people appreciate experiences that appeal to all senses. They crave for more eventful experiences than other age groups. This means that it would be beneficial to plan stores, online environments and other points on the path to purchase more thoroughly than has been done before. Invest in music, interior design, scents, technology and other aspects that will turn the environment into a powerful experience.

2. Consumers want to know what kind of information has been collected about them. Young people see loyalty programs only as a way to get benefits. However, if information is well formatted and easily understandable they are interested in examining their own behaviour as a consumer. This can bring significant extra value to the loyalty programs, especially for big supermarkets, because information accumulates continuously and it reveals many things about consumer’s lifestyle and spending.

3. Regarding the consumption decisions, the people close to the consumer are the most important source of information for them. The best ideas and tips come from friends and family. Memorable customer service and customer experiences are discussed in peer groups. By creating powerful sensations you ensure that your company and brand will be talked about within the peer groups of young people. You might also want to consider teaming up with youth culture’s influential people, for example by using the methods of co-creation. They can help you to spread the message and they have bold views about what you should offer the young people.

4. Video services and instant messaging apps are a hot discussion topic when looking at the media environment of teenagers. They also have a role as the source of information that affects consumers’ decisions. Without thorough PR strategy trying new channels require creativity and boldness from the brands. Since the data was collected for this study the live video streaming app Periscope has been gaining more and more popularity. Periscope gives us an interesting, intimate window to people’s lives. In addition to understanding the channels as a part of the study, it is also incredibly important to actually try these channels: you can find out about their characteristics and logic only by experiencing them first-hand.

5. When it comes to the online stores, the country of origin does and does not matter. Young people are willing to prefer a Finnish store if it offers the same terms and experiences as the store abroad. However, young people have especially gotten used to German, British and Swedish stores and they are considered easy to order from. The stores have been localized well. The customs duties and long shipping times are seen as the negative side of American online stores. Asian online stores are not yet very well known and their reliability is slightly doubted.

6. People don’t want the staff in stores to be more active. A Finnish young consumer wants the shop assistant to be present and available, but doesn’t expect the shop assistant to actively try to sell things. Especially obtruding is not liked. However, when it comes to the expensive products the expertise is appreciated. During the in-store ethnographic study we discovered that in many stores the shop assistants are physically there, but not mentally. Not many companies have been able to turn customer experience to their competitive advantage — usually it merely supports the competitiveness. 

7. The experiences in Finnish customer service culture have improved within the last two years. People feel like the shop assistants care more about their job and good customer service experiences are not as rare as they used to be. On the other hand, about one third still thinks that great customer service experiences are rare in Finland.

8. Nice packaging is notably more important for young people than to the other age groups. This tells again that the shopping experience needs to be an experience in every aspect. The design should be taken in consideration with cheap and expensive products alike.

9. Lidl has rocketed to the top of the brands within four years. Young people appreciate Lidl’s stores, selection and marketing. They appreciate Google and Samsung as technology brands, but Apple’s image appeals only to slightly more than one in three. Nonetheless, Apple often comes up in the replies to the open questions. A brand that stirs up emotions divides opinions and gets the attention.

10. Shifting between the physical store and the online presence of the company is still difficult. There aren’t many successful executions. In most stores, guiding the customers in stores to seek solutions online feel like meaningless additions. Is an automatized sensor technology the solution that brings a truly useful digital ’layer’ to the in-store experience?

11. Recycling is trendy and young people consider it easy to sell used products. New recycling ecosystems emerge in social media quickly and for example Facebook has developed functions for peer trading. Recycling is not about being poor but an ecological and trendy choice for the young people. Can your company participate in recycling? We found out in the in-store ethnographies that for example H&M and Stadium have added recycling to their agenda. This has been done by providing simple services in stores.

12. Young people are not as impatient as other age groups when it comes to their expectations towards services. When it comes to messages from customer service, they wait for response about as long as the older groups. In some cases the young are ready to wait for even longer to receive a reply. From this point of view the talk about instant-generation is not justified. Regarding fastness, the service experiences can be very similar to all age groups. On the other hand, young people like to use self service checkouts: they act more independently than people in older age groups and the deployment of new technology is easier for them.

15/30 Research 2015