DDB’s Life Style Study Shows Boomers Care More About the Environment than Millennials

By christinewatson / / In a surprising new study by DDB, research shows that Boomers care more about the environment than Millennials. When it comes to being environmentally friendly, Millennials are talking the talk but not walking the walk. Denise Delahorne, Senior Vice President & Group Strategy Director of DDB, was kind enough to speak to us about the study’s results. ——————– What’s the DDB Life Style Study? The DDB Life Style Study is the nation’s longest running and largest longitudinal study of attitudes and behaviors. Conducted annually since 1975, approximately 7,000 men and women age 18+ are surveyed nationwide. The sample is balanced to the US Census on gender, age and race. We ask respondents 600+ questions about their: Activities such as shopping, travel, worship, sports, fitness, entertainment, drinking, and e-commerce Internet and telecommunications behavior including access, activities, preferences, and devices Demographics such as age, race, education, income, occupation, work status, household size, presence of children Attitudes and opinions about such diverse topics as health, finances, work, self-confidence, parenting, brands, advertising and personal beliefs What insights do you draw from this and how does it affect the creative work at DDB? DDB uses the information from the study in three key ways to develop insights into human behavior and create more effective and relevant communication ideas – profiles, trends and custom follow-up research: Profiles Custom profiling of target customers is the most common use of the DDB Life Style Study. The wealth of information in the data makes it possible to paint a vivid, detailed, multidimensional portrait of nearly any segment of the market—heavy users of a product or service, consumers who engage in a particular leisure activity, residents in a geographic region of the country, or consumers in a specific age group. These portraits complement the array of consumer research conducted by DDB and help ensure that we are communicating with target customers with relevance and impact. Trends Because we have nearly 40 years of data, the DDB Life Style Study provides accurate long-term tracking of such issues as brand loyalty, diet, meal preparation, family cohesion, and social attitudes. Custom Follow-Up Research DDB Life Style Study respondents can be recontacted throughout the year to answer detailed questions about specific brand and category issues. The individual’s responses to these recontact queries can be merged with their responses to the annual survey. This gives us not only a wealth of issue-specific responses but also the rich psychographic and demographic profiles that the DDB Life Style Study® can provide. Baby Boomers lead in more traditional ways of protecting the environment like recycling, or using reusable grocery bags. The Millennials seem to have an edge with technology like electric cars and hybrids. Do you think the difference might boil down to the cool factor? I’m sure the “cool factor” does play a role here. We know that Millennials are much more status and image conscious than Boomers. Another data point from the study indicates that Millennials are significantly more likely than Boomers to say that they would pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image they want to convey. So if the desire is to communicate with a vehicle choice that they are “living green,” owning these types of vehicles would easily do that. I suspect that another factor that comes into play is the size of the vehicle. While there are some full- and SUV-sized hybrid vehicles, most tend to be smaller, compact cars. As such, the hybrids are probably more practical and appealing to those who do not need a car large enough to carry a family and all their associated belongings. Do you think habits might change as Millennials get older? Well, I certainly hope so! My suspicion is that, yes, they likely will change as their lives change, and a big part of that is homeownership, which is clearly linked to age. When you are a homeowner, you are much more involved in the chores of managing a home – from collecting the trash within it to putting that trash out for removal on a weekly or biweekly basis. The systems of recycling that are available in many communities might make it easier for Boomers to engage in this behavior. Similarly, if one shops frequently for groceries for a household, there is a greater likelihood of being conscious of the perpetual waste created by paper and plastic grocery bags. Of course, those extra bags also just become more trash that has to be managed in and out of the home.