Graphic by K8 Strassman

C.A.R.L.Y’s — The kids who “Can’t Afford Real Life Yet” are a marketing super force

How the C.A.R.L.Y‘s are fueling momentum for trends, brands and movements today

Pre-COVID, Millennials were projected to spend $1.4 trillion in 2020. Industries have spent years trying to crack the code on how to reach these Americans ages 25 to 40. But living in the momentum mindset, we know the importance of looking around corners. It’s time to dig in deeper to Generation Z — the cohort on track to spend $143 billion this year, even despite the fact that they are primarily still dependents.

  • Climate Change & Environmentalism: from 50 to 56 since June
  • Crocs: MFactor has risen from 40 to 56 since June
  • Starface Pimple Patches: MFactor increase from 7 to 12 between March and June.
  • MadHappy: They may not have the mass to drive their MFactor score above 1, but their Velocity has moved from 1 to 20 since June.
  • INNOVATION: C.A.R.L.Y’s don’t have the attention span to just scroll through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Active and constantly evolving by nature, C.A.R.L.Y’s are creators who like to push the boundaries with the content they create. And even as older generations expressed doubt in the legitimacy of TikTok, C.A.R.L.Ys continue to evolve the way they use the platform. They’ve proved it is more than just an app for viral dances; it is an effective medium for political and social activism.
  • POLARIZATION: If there’s a provocative, taboo or unspoken topic, that’s exactly what the C.A.R.L.Ys want to bring to the forefront. Guided by role models of their generation like Billie Eilish who openly talk about depression, body shaming and sexuality among other teen insecurities and tensions, C.A.R.L.Ys are empowered by extreme introspection and an ability to talk openly about it.
  • STICKY: It is easy to overgeneralize generations like Millennials and Gen Z. It is hard for a brand, product or personality to actually understand and appeal based on generalizations. That’s why we identify niche groups within them. We all remember HENRYs, YUPPIES and VSCO Girls. Deep understanding of niche groups within generations helps to better reach and engage them. And an understanding of C.A.R.L.Ys specifically helps connect the dots to make sense of why current trends, people, brands and movements have momentum right now.
  • SOCIAL IMPACT: C.A.R.L.Ys understand they are better together as a united force than they are as a disparate group. They come together to create change for movements they are passionate about like politics and fighting climate change.
  • People of interest (any political candidates/politicians, celebrities, artists, etc.)
  • Political issues / movements / trends

Momentum Maker, Author of Maximum Momentum, Founder & CEO of Decode_M