Ethnic Youth in the UK: re-defining Gen Y

Ahead of Youth Marketing Strategy, Manning Gottlieb OMD’s Head of Insight, Alison Tsang shared some thoughts from their ground breaking new study into the UK’s Ethnic Youth.

1 in 4 of Gen Y is ethnic (i.e. Non White British) but what do we really know about them?

An overlooked, but rapidly growing audience, we set out on an ambitious project to put a spotlight on our 18-29 Ethnic Youth in the UK which has never been done before. We wanted to:

- Really get under the skin of what they thought and how they behaved.

- Fill a genuine knowledge gap in the industry and providing fresh insights which could inform future marketing and communications strategies.

What we found surprised us.

Although there are common characteristics which bond the whole of Gen Y together, there are definite differences between our Ethnic Youth and White British Youth. And this is something which our Ethnic Youth really embrace. They acknowledge the influence of their ethnic roots with 68% agreeing their ethnicity has been important in shaping who they are today. And they embrace their ethnicities, with 79% agreeing they are proud of their ethnic origin. In fact, diversity is one of the best things about living in the UK, with all of our Ethnic Youth putting it in their top 3 best things about the UK.

Ethnic difference is something our Ethnic Youth recognise and celebrate. So, this is something which we, as advertisers, should also embrace. It’s about understanding and celebrating positive differences such as food, music, festivities, family life, different ways of socialising and communicating and dual cultural identities. Ethnic Youth is a significant and exciting audience for advertisers who may not have considered their Gen Y target in this way before. And a rich cultural identity is not the only thing which is interesting for advertisers.

I look forward to sharing some more insights which define our future youth population at YMS in March!

Alison Tsang is Head of Insight at Manning Gottlieb OMD. She presented findings from the Ethnic Youth study at Youth Marketing Strategy in March 2015.