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The “Being 20™” Series: An Enlightening Study Of 20-year-olds And Their Attitudes, Behaviors, And Feelings About Their World And Future

The “Being 20™” Series: An enlightening study of 20-year-olds and their attitudes, behaviors, and feelings about their world and future

Twenty years of doing something, living something, striving for something, experiencing something…dreaming something.  It’s a great expanse of time.  Long enough to establish a level of comfort, confidence, knowledge, maturity, self-awareness and expertise. And importantly, to recognize there’s still more to learn, experience and grow in the years to come.

In 1999, on the precipice of a new millennium, with equal levels of uncertainty and optimism, Consumer Truth® was born to embark on the quest of “Truth Discovery” in order to help our clients grow their businesses through a deeper understanding of their consumers’ needs, emotions and motivations.

As we turned 20, we wondered about the mindsets of those who were born at the same time our business was. And it is with this in mind that we sought to discover even more truth among 20-year-olds—young men and women on the precipice of adulthood being “labeled” (as we do) on the end of the Millennial generation and the beginning of Gen Z – approaching their lives ahead with equal levels of uncertainty and optimism.  

Introducing our “Being 20” series. A fascinating quantitative and qualitative study of 20-year-olds and their attitudes, behaviors, feelings and thoughts about their world now and what the future might hold.  What’s important to them? Where are their political affiliations? How do they inform themselves of the events of the world stage? What are their thoughts and feelings about the future?  How do they differentiate themselves from the generations before them? What advice do they have for the generation to follow? How do they feel about their own generation? And for practical purposes, with what brands do they connect?

For us, understanding what it means to “be 20” has been both fascinating and enlightening, ushering in powerful insights into many worlds: social, political, economic, environmental, cultural and of course, business and marketing.  Many of our in-going assumptions have been crushed and some have been validated.

Our plan is to issue a “white paper” toward the end of 2019, which aggregates and analyzes our research findings and implications.  But in the meantime, we will release on a bi-monthly basis, key findings which we think our clients will find interesting and informative in providing insight for potential use as part of strategy formulation, communication and connection with the Gen Z target.

Our first release focuses on popular sources of news among 20-year-olds and the degree of trustworthiness they place in how its delivered.  Among our sample population, not surprisingly given today’s blur of media and politics, 60% find the level of trustworthiness in how today’s media deliver the news greatly lacking: 

Which of the following best reflects the level of trustworthiness you have in how today’s media delivers the news:

However, what might be surprising is to see the lack of prevalence of social media outlets appearing in this sample’s top three news sources. Among 26 possible choices, 20-year-olds include traditional media sources such as CNN, Fox News, ABC and the New York Times in their basket of top three.

This is interesting in that it more likely aligns with what their parents’ choices might be. Given we now live in an age when the news is recognized for having a political slant based on news outlet biases – some more liberal and some more conservative –this makes the trusted news source of choice even more intriguing.

Equally as surprising are the news outlets NOT landing in the top 3 – or virtually not at all being used by 20-year-olds. Many of the purely digital news sources (e.g., Politico, Thrillest, Buzzfeed, Apple News,, etc.) landed far from the top 10-15 picks.

What is going on? 
We will more deeply explore these answers qualitatively by convening small group discussions over the summer.  This will help to shine light and clarity on many of the surprising findings of this study. Stay tuned…

Survey platform provided by Dynata

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