Meet Generation V: the cost-conscious young mums craving affordable luxuries

Brands crafting their messages to a narrow definition of "millennials" might be alienating another young demographic - mums under the age of 30.

Gen V: the visual and vlogging young mums with traditional family values
Gen V: the visual and vlogging young mums with traditional family values

A new survey from Channel Mum and Kantar Media has outlined the wants and needs of Generation V – young mothers who combine cost-consciousness with millennial habits like selfies and vlogging.

Generation V are very different, as they are growing up under conditions like no others in history

The survey of more than 4,000 mothers has found that while young mums embody certain millennial habits, they also hold attitudes that go against the millennial grain, with lessons for brands.

They put family over career

One example is the idea that British millennials are more tolerant, liberal and progressive than their parents.

But almost a fifth of millennial mothers believe their place is in the home rather than the office, marking an attitudinal return to traditional values.

Four in five enjoy doing housework and tend to enjoy cooking than their older counterparts. Young mothers also crave family approval more than their older counterparts, with 57% feeling it's important for their family to believe they are doing well.

Self-doubt and selfies

Like their millennial peers, young mums are far off the property ladder. They make up for this by showing off smaller purchases in what is sometimes perceived to be millennial vanity.

That includes "vling" – a portmanteau of vlogging and bling – the act of showing off luxurious purchases such as handbags or jewellery to garner likes on social networks.

While that might seem vain, Channel Mum’s research suggests this is Generation V’s form of escapism from economic hardship.

It’s also a mask for self-doubt, with the selfie culture pushing an unrealistic idea of perfection in much the same way traditional ads once did.

For Channel Mum, campaigns such as ‘This Girl Can’ hit the spot by understanding female pressures and giving out a more reassuring message.

Cheap and tasty over organic and ethical

Another counter-intuitive finding is young mothers’ focus on cheap, tasty food rather than more gourmet offerings.

Four in five mothers won’t fork out for food without artificial additives, suggesting recent moves by the likes of McDonald’s to target millennials with pricier, healthier food might be unsuitable for a key audience.

That extends beyond food to other products, with only two in five mothers caring whether a brand behaves ethically or not. A third would only go green if it saved them money.

What it means for brands

The research indicates what many marketers already suspect – millennials are a more complex bunch than might first appear. McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook identified this complexity when announcing the company's restructure in May.

He said at the time: "We’d like less simple talk of millennials as though they are one simple group with shared attitudes."

Channel Mum's research suggests that brands targeting young mothers need to understand that seemingly superficial traits – like "vling" – mask real emotional wants. That might mean providing easy-to-digest content via video, or offering glamour at an affordable price. It also means giving traditional values a modern twist, and offering mums "practical" help.

Siobhan Freegard, the Channel Mum founder, said: "Generation V are very different, as they are growing up under conditions like no others in history.

"Their values won’t necessarily be your values, so marketeers need to reverse their thinking to reach them effectively."