More and more often, we hear about Generation Z in the marketing world and whether you are already catering your business to them or have no idea what Gen Z is. The reality is that Generation Z is the next big consumer and they are a sophisticated and complex generation that will pose new challenges for marketers around the world.
Defined by Pew Research as the generation born after 1996 (some claim it’s 1995 while others feel like it is available more for people born around 2000), we are talking about an incredibly tech-savvy generation that has never lived a day without technology and the internet in their lives. Not only do they know how to use technology, but they rely on it to sustain their careers, hobbies and every aspect of their lifestyle, from online grocery shopping to online dating.
According to Pew Research, there is another aspect that makes Gen Z more complex than others, as Gen Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations and is about to become the most well-educated generation yet. Although Gen Z and Millennials have many viewpoints in common when it comes to their perspective on society, politics and lifestyle, there are differences when it comes to consumer behaviour that marketers should be aware of when targeting this group in order to succeed.
What are they like?
As global connectivity soars, generational shifts could play a more important role in setting behavior than socioeconomic differences do. Based on a Brazilian study where Gen Z already makes up for 20% of the country’s population, McKinsey found out that above all, members of this generation are always searching for the truth. While millennials are a generation that has experienced incredible economic prosperity that has determined them to become more self-centred and idealistic, McKinsey called Gen Zers the ‘True Gen’. In their search for the truth in all aspects of their lives, Gen Zers “value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world. Finally, they make decisions and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way.” (‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies, By Tracy Francis and Fernanda Hoefel)
As part of their journey to find authenticity in their lives, members of Gen Z are living life more pragmatically than previous generations. The way they consume products and services is therefore different because of that. Choosing accessibility over possession, Gen Zers won’t make a purchase if they are not satisfied with all of the information gathered about the product or service. They also prefer to have the ability to test and gain a better understanding of whether it is suitable for them and caters to their needs. This will not be sufficient though as it has become clearer that this generation is more interested in an unlimited access agreement with their goods, rather than owning them. Services like video streaming, car-riding services or monthly subscriptions are revolutionising the consumption behaviour of the younger generation.
However, the iGen is also interested in brands and companies that are involved in society’s challenges and issues, in which they choose to stand for a cause that is relevant to the brand. As consumption becomes more of a form of self-expression, Gen Zers feel the urge to choose products and services that reflect their individual identity and beliefs, including any causes they are fighting for. The environment, human rights and equality are just a few of the most important aspects that they are interested in when choosing a brand to invest in. With information readily available online, they are able to quickly form an opinion of a company and about 65 percent try to learn the origins of anything they buy—where it is made, what it is made from, and how it is made. About 80 percent refuse to buy goods from companies involved in scandals.
All in all, members of the Gen Z generation seem to be more interested in how brands use their products and services to create an amazing customer experience for them rather than any other aspect. With that being said, it is important to ensure that as a brand, you have a deep understanding of what the next generation is looking for, what makes them tick and how you can add real value to their lives with your brand.
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