The post Millennial generation Gen Z (aka Gen We), born between 1995 and 2016, makes up over 20 percent of the current U.S. population. So while Gen Z may not be your prime target now, they soon will be. By 2020 Gen Z is set to be the largest generation of consumers, and their spending power already equates to over $140 billion.
I can help. I'm an 18-year-old Gen Zer about to start my first year of college. I reached out to my peers to gather insights to help marketers like you get a better handle on how to connect with Gen Z. I asked about shopping habits, money and preferred social and media channels. I also consulted articles by the Huffington Post and Salesforce for third-party research and trends that influence Gen Z.
Though older Gen Zers are close in age with young Millennials, there are important key differences to note in the way Gen Z behaves as compared to Millennials. For starters, here are four ways Gen Z differs from Millennials:
Shopping. Though we may be in a digital age, Gen Z actually prefers to shop in store as opposed to Millennials who prefer the simplicity of shopping online. 68 percent of Gen Z surveyed said that they would rather shop in store. That means retail marketers should optimize the in-store experience, providing offers to excite and engage Gen Z.
Money. Gen Z grew up during the Great Recession. They watched the economy crash and many likely watched their parents struggle during this time. This has led Gen Z to be money savvy and conscious of what they spend and where they're spending it. In contrast Millennials tend to care more about the experience of buying the product and less concerned about the cost of it, according to an article by the Huffington Post. So, grab the attention of Gen Z by highlighting deals and steals.
Authenticity. Of course Millennials want brands to be authentic, but Gen Z requires it. The brands that do the best with Gen Z are those that are transparent about their products. How can you be authentic in the eyes of Gen Z? Show real people using real products. Forget the photo shoots and ditch Photoshop. Capture the raw beauty of life through natural photos. Make Gen Z feel as if they can achieve what's in the photo.
Independence. Whereas Millennials will rage over the hottest brands, Gen Z will not be defined by any one brand. They want a variety of brands and items that allow them to capture their own personality.
Gen Z is always connected. Whether through smartphone, laptop, or even gaming device, we live in a digital age and Gen Z is all about it. When 25 teens (ages 12-18) were asked, 100 percent said that they regularly use their smartphone, and 48 percent reported that they use their phones for 4+ hours a day.
Connectivity is key. Gen Z has major FOMO (fear of missing out) and social media has become there way of always being present.
Gen Z has no time to waste. Long ads and slow load time are not worth the wait.
Fifty-two percent of Gen Zers say that the social media platform that they spend the most time on is Instagram.
On top of that 84 percent of Gen Z follows a brand or company on Instagram.
For more on Gen Z/Gen We, read Gen We expects more from brands on social media.