This holiday season, American Eagle Outfitters CMO Craig Brommers says the company is choosing a “go big mentality” for targeting Gen Z through social media. The publicly traded company (ticker NYSE: AEO) has always had a target audience of these quick-paced consumers that were born between 1997 and 2012 and make up 40% of the global consumer population. In order to target its primary audience, American Eagle (AE) has become an early adopter of social commerce and innovative social tactics. This holiday season will be no different as they plan to use 3 different virtual and shoppable experiences across Snapchat, Roblox, and Tiktok to bring the community together and spread holiday cheer.
AE's first step to success will be launching a holiday-themed market on Snapchat - a multimedia instant messaging app worth $14.56 billion that allows users to share images and messages instantly. Starting on November 2nd, 332 million daily users worldwide can virtually shop and try on around 20 different outfits using a front-facing camera. These outfits will be slowly released throughout the progression of the holiday season in 3 waves: Outdoor Adventure, Friends Getaway, and finally Holiday Party. Other companies have used similar variations of the virtual store to bring in an average of $2 Million in revenue. Tapping into the 12th most popular social media platform worldwide should allow AE access to 48% of the Snapchat audience that lies between the ages of 15 and 25.
Following the launch of its holiday-themed market on Snapchat, AE will expand its presence on Roblox - a large-multiplayer online platform that hosts millions of worlds created by partnered developers. Roblox is on the rise with a younger demographic as 67% of users are under the age of 16. Since the platform hosts over 50 million users daily, AE can expect access to around 33.5 million users in their target age range. The brand also will push a holiday card hashtag challenge on Tiktok - a platform that allows a variety of short-form user videos with durations from 15 seconds to ten minutes. Tiktok is the fastest-growing social media platform worldwide and is the sixth most popular overall earning an expected $11.64 billion in 2022. They are expected to host over 1.8 billion users, 61.3% of users being Gen Z, by the end of 2022.
This extravagant plan would target upwards of one billion Gen Z users. American Eagle is once again proving its position as an early adopter of social commerce in the wake of its rising popularity. Other brands are following suit such as retailers Pacsun, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Vans, Nike, and Dior Beauty. Overall, this environment is run by the economy of attention and the entertainment business. Brands can no longer rely on their product alone in traditional marketing channels as they have in the past. Instead, brands must literally be “down with the kids” through social media and the metaverse. As older generations begin to die off, this group of Gen Z has the power to push out brands that do not grab attention. For this growing and fast-paced environment, attention is relevance and relevance is money. Brands should be hard-pressed to adopt similar innovative strategies and engage in social commerce before losing relevancy in this demographic.
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