The New Focus Group

Apparently, the new marketing focus group is the "skippies". The group is young but has ever increasing purchasing power.

So executives at the Chicago-based company turned to a group of consumers that, more than ever, has corporate America's attention. They're not boomers — they're "skippies," a market research label for youngsters with income and purchasing power.

American teens spent $170 billion in 2002 on products for themselves or their households, up from $155 billion in 2000, according to a survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, a suburban Chicago firm that tracks youth trends.

These days, when companies remake, repackage and re-market their products, they often look for advice from college students, teens and "tweens" — preteens as young as 8.

"They're a lot smarter than we ever gave them credit for," says Paul Chibe, director of U.S. consumer marketing at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., a business once known for sticking with tradition. Now, based on teen feedback, it's trying something new.

This is a good move for businesses, because teenagers know everything – at least, I thought I did when I was that age.

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