5 charts on what marketers should know about the 2023 customer—from media habits to search behavior

Reaching consumers starts with knowing who they are. That means understanding consumer demographics, media and search behaviors, and ad consumption habits. Here are five charts to help you get to know your customers.

1. Know who you want to reach

Before you can target consumers, you need to have a clear idea of the demographics you want to reach and their digital buying power.

  • Millennials make up the largest portion of digital buyers in the US and will continue to do so through 2026, according to the US Census Bureau.
  • Gen Z will surpass Gen X in the number of US digital buyers by the end of 2025, according to our estimates.
  • More Gen Zers are over 18 years old than under and are making their own purchases.
  • Nearly 20% of Gen Z adults in the US identify as LGBTQ+, according to Gallup.
  • Gen Alpha will be more diverse than the rest of the population, according to the US Census Bureau.

2. Understand how they consume media

US adults spend more time with live TV than any other form of media, according to Nielsen. Live TV is followed by smartphones and TV-connected devices in time spent.

To reach your customer, focus on where they spend the majority of their time—then analyze which sorts of advertisements will yield the most return.

3. Focus on their search habits

Some 56% of US consumers start their product search on Amazon, while 42% start with a search engine like Google, according to Jungle Scout.

  • TikTok is growing in popularity as a place where people start shopping, up 5 percentage points to 19% between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023.
  • Gen Z adults in the US are more likely than the general population to start searches on TikTok, with 43% using the platform that way.

4. Recognize where your consumer expects ads

For Gen Z adults, 72% say they’re most receptive to seeing ads on social media, according to NCSolutions.

  • A Gen Z-focused brand should spend ad budget on influencers, paid social, and organic account presence.
  • Even within social, keep the consumer in mind. Gen Z may be more receptive to TikTok ads while millennials are used to Instagram ads and older generations frequent Facebook.

5. Use the correct metrics to reach the right people

Brands and retailers must use data to understand who is frequenting their sites and buying products and to make sure they’re targeting the right consumers.

Google Topics (the company’s alternative to third-party cookies, which will sunset by the end of 2024) and authenticated, email-based identity solutions were most attractive to marketers worldwide as of September 2022, according to Lotame and PureSpectrum.

There are a number of post-cookie identity solutions available to marketers. The best approach will likely weave together different strategies, including emerging tech, contextual advertising, data clean rooms, and first-party data.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.