THE TRU STUDY: 2009 GLOBAL TEEN EDITION
As technology brings different cultures and customs into closer contact, adults claim that the world shrinks. But for teens, this flood of information, piped directly into their homes and schools, has a far different effect. The teen years - a middle ground between childhood and adulthood - have always been an opportunity to test boundaries, explore the unknown, and assert independence gradually. Families typically shelter their teenagers from harms both real and imagined, while teens tend to cloister themselves into friend-groups that share roughly similar backgrounds and outlooks. These factors - combined with a natural youthful tendency to focus on the "here and now" - means that the typical teen's world rarely extended much beyond his or her family, school, or hometown. But in less than a generation, the size and scope of a global teen's world has grown exponentially. Today, teens are immersed in information from all corners of the globe; their fact-finding missions and aimless wanderings are limited by neither physical boundaries nor the echo chamber that their friends populate.
Unbound by cultural conventions or community taboos, they're able to freely browse the global marketplace of ideas. And, as global brands increasingly understand, teens often choose to accessorize their ideological discoveries with purchases from the global marketplace, as well. Successful global brands don't happen by accident. To thrive in the global theater, brands must be simultaneously deeply rooted in their core attributes and yet flexible enough to relevantly traverse shifting regional, geopolitical, and socioeconomic terrain. Just as importantly, in order to construct a global teen platform, marketers must understand global teens' influences and motivations, commonalities and contrasts.
The Global Teen Profile
The respondents that comprise the sample for this groundbreaking research represent a population of nearly 461 million 12- to 19-year-olds from 16 separate countries on five continents. Collectively, teens in this universe boast more than $592 billion in personal purchase power! And, though global teens represent an enormous diversity of cultures, values, attitudes, and consumer behaviors, their worldviews share essential teen need-states. Many of these timeless need-states may, at first glance, seem contradictory. In fact, they often counterbalance each other, ensuring that teens remain grounded (read: safe!) in a time of growth and uncertainty.