Gen Z Born 1997-2012 Ages 9-24
Have you ever watched a toddler playing on an iPad? As a Boomer, I struggle to figure out why my app won’t update. By age 5 this toddler will probably be far more tech-savvy than I’ll ever be.
As Millennials are getting older, the Generation Z population is growing, and growing fast. Gen Zers, or Zoomers as they are now called, are 24 and under and currently make up more than a quarter of America’s population. Generation Z is the first generation to grow up with technology from the start. This is why audience segmentation is so important when marketing to Generation Z; do not lump them in with Millennials.
With a purchasing power of more than $143 billion, yes billion, Gen Z is expected to shake up the retail industry. Although many are earning their first paychecks, entering college, or joining the workforce, this generation shops and spends money much differently than its Millennial predecessor.
Spending habits for every age group declined at the onset of COVID-19. However, the Afterpay report (Afterpay is a payment plan that lets you divide a purchase into four equal installments with zero interest, but the company charges a late fee.) reveals that Gen Z recovered faster than older generations. A 2021 Consumer Culture Report by 5WPR found that Gen Z is now spending 43 minutes more per online shopping than they did before the COVID-19 outbreak. The same report suggests that Gen Z is the most passionate when it comes to buying products from brands that align with their values. They are also the generation that 45% have boycotted a business and 36% enjoy buying products that display their social and political beliefs. A 2021 Survey Monkey report found that this generation trusts influencers the most, with 11% using influencers as their trusted source for product recommendations compared to 7% of Millennials.
The characteristics of a Gen Zer is:
1. Diverse, and are the most multicultural generation as to date.
2. Open-minded in many ways, such as acceptance of all sexual orientations.
3. Gender-neutral when it comes to traditional job roles and transgender issues.
4. Changemakers, interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.
5. Dreamers, who want to follow their passions and do not understand why others do not.
6. Independent learners, who have the desire and know-how to self-educate.
7. Do-gooders, who want to make a difference.
So, how do you market to this generation?
They are digital natives, as marketers, we must act that way also. While Millennials use three screens on average, Generation Z uses five and expects brands to move as seamlessly around digital devices as they do.
- Make the message quick, to the point, and in their language. Their attention span is about 8 seconds. They are accustomed to quickly filtering through enormous amounts of information. In this emoji-era, brands must communicate with snackable content that captures their attention.
- Social media is important but differs from Millennials’ usage. Millennials pioneered Facebook. Gen Z prefers privacy and anonymous social networks like Snapchat, and Whisper (Whisper is an anonymous social networking app. Users post confessions, either fact or fiction, by superimposing text on a picture. Whisper’s unique selling point is that it is completely anonymous, with users issued a random nickname upon joining.) They do not want an ever-lasting social footprint.
- Authentic experiences and two-way conversations are a must. An online, two-way conversation and creating a social presence, is how you engage with Gen Zers. They value the opinions of their peers and have made influencer marketing a powerful tool, but it must be genuine in order to be effective.
- Humanize your brand and show you care. As marketers, we need to showcase the personality of our brand. Gen Zers do not want a faceless company. They want to make the world a better place, and they want to see that you are truly committed to that cause.
- Show your product is realistic and relatable. They want quality. They prefer brands that reflect their beliefs and independence rather than unrealistic messaging that projects perfection. Information is at their fingertips, and they will do extensive research before buying.
- Let them make it their own. They will want to personalize their products and fashions in order to express their individuality. When you market to a Gen Zer include options for personalization.
- Without saying, video content and cord-cutting are big. (Cord-cutting, in regard to television viewing, is the dropping of a cable or satellite television subscription service in favor of one or more alternatives.) Nine-out-of-ten Gen Zers watch YouTube daily, 70% prefer streaming over broadcast or cable TV and more than a quarter post their own original video content on social sites weekly.
Based on all the information listed above, when marketing to Generation Z and hearing about these studies, it may make you nervous. In the long run, the consumer trend of putting value first should not scare or shock you. It should, however, motivate you to ask, “How can I provide better value to my customers?”
Many of the most frugal Gen Z prospects will buy, invest in, or splurge on your brand’s offerings if the offering seems valuable, helps them solve a pain point, or provides a positive, memorable experience.
As with all generations, building a better brand, focusing on the customer experience, and promoting positive company reviews will go a long way.