People Insights

October 24, 2014

The Three Phases of Growing Up

There are distinct phases of growing up around the globe, and different ways for marketers to reach people in each phase.

People InsightsAudiences

    So often teens and young adults are viewed as one big group. However, during the research for our recent study, “Coming of Age on Screens,” in which we commissioned culture experts Crowd DNA to do a study of people, age 13–24, in 13 countries, we discovered that there are 3 distinct phases of growing up across the globe, each with its own attitudes and behaviors.1

    Wanting to change the world: The Optimists (13-15)

    Wanting to change the world: The Optimists, aged 13-15

    As the most positive and enthusiastic group 60% of the people surveyed agreed their generation is going to change the world, compared with 53% of people ages 16–19 and 50% of those 20–24. Younger teens are also the most likely to say that their lives revolve around friends and family (81%), compared with just 68% of young people age 16-24.

    Optimists are the most keen on tech of the 3 groups, not having known a world without it. They’re the most likely to agree it’s important to have the latest gadgets or technology (66%). They’re also the most likely to agree that they’d be lost without access to social media (53%). Teens in this age bracket also tend to be “super-sharers,” with 55% agreeing they like to tell people about their daily lives; 46% of those 16–24 say they do.

    “We have our phones glued to us all the time, so we rarely put them down. We've just grown up with social media, so it's just a big part of our life.”

    Hannah, 15


    Planning for the future: The Explorers (16–19)

    Planning for the future: The Explorers, aged 16–19

    As the most forward-looking of the bunch, this group was most likely to say they are planning for the future (58%), and at this point in their life they are more passionate for education (42%), than Optimists (31%) or Realists (37%).

    While the entire generation is industrious, with 84% on average saying that they’re not afraid to work hard to accomplish their goals in life, these older teens are the most likely to say this at 87%.

    “The digital world allows us to live experiences with friends even though we are distant.”

    Harumi, 18


    Connected with the world: The Realists, aged 20–24

    Connected with the world: The Realists, aged 20–24

    These young adults are the most mobile-centric: Of the 3 groups they are the most likely to use their smartphone throughout the day. And they are the most likely to multi-screen: some 81% of Realists say they use a mobile device while TV watching compared with 79% of young people age 16-19 and 76% of those 13–15.

    They are also more likely to agree that they can’t leave their house without their mobile phone (74%).

    “From the moment I get up, (social media) is the first thing I check. I use it throughout the day to chat, I probably check it at least once an hour—on the train, at work, at uni.”

    Dave, 21


    What it Means for Marketers

    What it Means for Marketers

    • People value personalization

      They’ve grown up during a time where everything is personalized, from playlists to technology—so they like to be treated as individuals. There are different ways to reach different segments of this population.

      For instance, Optimists are very tech fluent, love to share, and look at the world with wide, optimistic eyes. Think about contributing to the conversation in an authentic way that will tap into this optimism and encourage sharing.

    • Explorers are more open to experimentation and focused on education.

      Consider marketing initiatives that can help fuel their passion for discovery and learning.

    • Realists are more focused and aware of their time.

      Think about ways to provide them with tools to more efficient and create balance in their lives.

    Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are averaged across all countries.

    People InsightsAudiences

    Next in People Insights

    Stay in the know

    Get timely insights from Facebook IQ delivered to your inbox.