Market Analysis Summary
According to the U.S. Census Bureau the population of teens (age 12-17), in 1999 was 23.4 million, which represents 8.6% of the total U.S. population. Teenagers influence $324 billion in spending annually, have $151 billion in disposable income, spend $24 billion annually, and will spend $1.2 billion online by 2002. Teens spend an average of $82 per week on entertainment, fashion, food, and technology. These young people dubbed “Generation Y” dominate almost all facets of popular culture and are the fastest-growing demographic under age 65.
Specialty youth clothes and products is a billion dollar niche in the clothing industry. Over the past ten years, there has been a profound change in population dynamics in the U.S. The non-metropolitan population has been growing at the almost the same rate as the urban population. Evansville’s current population is 150,000 residents. The city is 250 miles from the closest urban center. Consequently, Evansville’s young people don’t live near a large urban center that offers the diversity in clothing products that the youth culture demands. This has created a small market niche for businesses to sell clothing and products. This is particularly true in communities with a major college located in the community, like Evansville.
Currently, only two regional malls offer access to the fashion and styles that young people want. Unfortunately, the focus of these mall stores is only on the mainstream of the youth market. Alternative clothing and products are rarely available outside urban areas. This is true because the companies that create the clothing and products are small and sell primarily through urban specialty shops.
It is SmokeJumpers’ plan to bring these new alternative fashion and products to its target customer groups.
SmokeJumpers will capitalize on the following characteristics of Generation Y:
- Subculture Affiliation: Though rebellious, teens also want to blend in and be accepted by peers. They seek a community of peers to welcome them, as well as help them stand out.
- Attitude: Teenagers wear attitude like a uniform to give definition to their identity. This extends to clothing, hair style and the type of music listened to in public. They also react to humor, silliness, and irreverence more easily than to other styles.
It is SmokeJumpers’ plan to create a business identity that will capitalize on the subculture affiliation and attitude of our target customers. SmokeJumpers will focus on three significant customer groups:
- Skateboarders: This group is a pivotal customer group for SmokeJumpers. Skateboarders are deeply influenced by urban culture, especially in music, foot gear, and clothing. Distinctive urban style is a important component of the skateboard culture.
- Alternateens: This group is important for the sustained growth of the business. They represent a wide range of young people who identify themselves as part of the alternative culture. The most critical members of this group for SmokeJumpers are the “weekend warriors” who dress the part only for parties and concerts. They represent the majority of the group and have the most money to spend on products.
- College Students: Evansville University has an enrollment of 12,000 students, of which 5,000 are 19 years of age or younger. In many ways, it is the college population that sustains the alternative culture in Evansville. SmokeJumpers will advertise in the student daily newspaper to bring this target customer group into the store.
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