Millennials have been the center of attention for marketers in the past decade. They were (and are) the focus of extensive research, analysis and brand strategies. While Millennials may not have had the disposable income of their parents, marketers were eager to establish lasting relationships that would influence their buying decisions as they developed greater purchasing power. As such, Millennials changed the way companies sell and market their products or services.
As marketers began to look to the subsequent generation, called “Generation Z”, it might have been logical to apply the same marketing strategies. But Gen Z is more than just “Millennials Part II”.
Who is part of Generation Z?
Members of Gen Z were born between 1995 to 2010. They are the first generation to be exposed to the internet, social networks, and mobile systems from birth. That context has produced a generation with unique attitudes and approaches to the world, and who innately blend virtual and offline experiences in their daily life.
Gen Z consumption behaviors
According to a RetailTouchpoint study, 47% of Gen Z consumers research items on mobile devices while shopping at brick-and-mortar locations. By cross-referencing many sources of information, Gen Zers tend to analyze not just what they buy but also why they buy.
Consumption becomes self-expression, and brands that don’t provide meaning and authenticity will be left aside. Instead of global influencers, Gen Z is influenced by their peers: depictions of real people in everyday situations that they can relate to. While Millennial influencer marketing often depicted unattainable “rich and famous” lifestyles, the best Gen Z marketing is both aspirational and within reach of the average Gen Z consumer.
One trait that Gen Zers and Millennials have in common is the desire for personalized products and services. Brands will have to adapt to people’s individual needs, beliefs, and available resources.
Finally, Gen Z expects brands to take a stand and act on ethical issues. While social and ethical issues shouldn’t necessarily be the central focus of a consumer brand, consumers do respect brands that take a clear position on issues that relate directly to their products or services. This is especially true of younger generations.
Generation Z is still developing its attitudes, biases and brand alliances. Gen Z may not yet have the greatest purchasing power, but brands must work to build deep connections with them now, in order to stay relevant and competitive in the future.