By: Mackenzie Altvater, Copywriter

Throughout history, there is one thing in life that is always on trend: love, or in some people’s eyes, the idea of love. The Youth and Young Adult  (YAYA™) market is no exception. At MOJO Ad, we study the 18- to 24-year-old market. This unique life stage – not generation – is currently caught between millennials and Generation Z. As a YAYA consumer myself, I know from experience that love is always on our minds.

When I was a kid, one of the popular schoolyard rhymes was: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage.” But as the current YAYA market comes of age, we realize love and relationships aren’t always so simple.

Like millennials, the YAYA consumer grew up with the same Disney princess movies, pink Power Rangers and toy trucks. Traditional gender roles were omnipresent in the media we consumed. But we also grew up watching things like “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where an openly lesbian comedian still entertains America in a family-friendly way to this day, and “Will & Grace,” a show with characters constantly challenging conventional gender roles. So despite the YAYA markets’ traditional upbringings, our idea of the nuclear family isn’t what it used to be.

It is not new for marketers to research how consumers internalize traditional values, but because of marketers’ heavy focus on generations, they often misread the YAYA consumer. Unlike Gen Z, the YAYA consumer isn’t in high school anymore, and although many millennials are in their 30s already, the YAYA consumer is just now entering the job market. The YAYA market represents a strange rift between the traditional values of Gen Z and millennial consumers’ progressive side.

Connecting with the sometimes contradictory YAYA consumer can be a challenge. It’s important marketers understand the different ways YAYA consumers interact with gender and relationships. Here is a peak into the YAYA consumer’s Life Between the Lines.

  1. Equality matters.

YAYA consumers believe in equal opportunity. In fact, 77 percent believe gender equality is important, and a majority say gender is irrelevant in the workplace. Whether you are a man or woman is unimportant. What matters to the YAYA market is if the job is done well. A YAYA worker wouldn’t think twice about a female boss or a male nurse.

  1. However, traditional roles are seen as helpful in certain circumstances.

Although the YAYA professional believes equality is a given in the office, some think assigned roles could be beneficial in private settings. We found 40 percent of YAYA consumers agree traditional gender roles are helpful in the home. Although this might seem like a step towards conventional thinking, it’s not that simple.  Additionally, 41 percent of the market agrees gendered products are old-fashioned. This is a perfect example of the complex consumer marketers are dealing with. Maybe mom might cook more than dad, but that doesn’t mean YAYA consumers want to see pink aprons in every appliance aisle.

  1. The kids are important.

Our survey found half of YAYA consumers agree it’s important to have a stay-at-home parent in a home with young children. This supports the latest trend that millennial men prefer stay-at-home wives over a working partner. But unlike millennials, the YAYA market is realistic when it comes to raising a family. No matter what they prefer, 63 percent of YAYA consumers agree both parents need to work to make ends meet.

  1. Marriage means adulthood.

To most YAYA consumers, marriage means taking the next step in life. Our survey found over half of this demographic agrees marriage is a representation of maturity. But, a majority of them like to test the waters before tying the knot. Before they marry, 62 percent of YAYA daters plan to live with a romantic partner. Over a quarter of female respondents strongly agreed with this sentiment. No matter how serious the relationship, YAYA couples take steps to avoid the risk of a bad marriage before jumping into a life-long partnership.

  1. Romance isn’t necessary.

Some of them just aren’t ready for long-term partnerships at all. That doesn’t stop them from feeling the love, though. An astounding 79 percent of YAYA consumers agree their friends are a part of their family, and 93 percent of them agree their pets are members of their family. This shows that regardless of where this population stands in their romantic relationships, friends are still an important part of their lives.

No matter their upbringing or gender, YAYA consumers are an up-and-coming demographic that values equality and the family but in nontraditional ways. Therefore, marketers must shed stereotypical portrayals of gender and family life. Since the YAYA demographic won’t accept mundane views of gender, it’s time for marketers to follow this unique and complex consumer into the new era.Learn more about YAYA consumers, MOJO Ad and the 2018 State of the YAYA webcast here.