Just when marketers thought they had Millennials figured out, Generation Z enters the picture. The next wave of consumers, born in 1995 or later, represents 25.9% of the United States’ population and currently contributes $44 billion to the American economy. Although they might not be buying your products yet, their media habits, influence, and consumption behaviors will impact your marketing in the not-so-distant future. Get ahead of the curve, and meet Generation Z in our two-part series exploring this enigmatic generation.
Digital: It’s All They Know
Gen Z is the first truly all-digital generation, having grown up completely immersed in technology. The majority engages in some form of digital media within one hour of waking and 41% spend 3+ hours per day online for non-school related purposes. They are comfortable multi-tasking among five different screens and can move fluidly from smartphone to gaming console to e-reader without skipping a beat. When it comes to finding information, they are adept researchers and savvy knowledge seekers—85% have performed research online and 52% use YouTube and other social sites for research.
Make It Speedy
Although they spend a significant amount of time in the digital realm, their attention spans are remarkably short – an average of 8 seconds – making them the ultimate consumers of “snack media.” But don’t underestimate GenZ— research studies suggest that their brains have evolved to process more information at faster speeds, and are cognitively more nimble to handle bigger mental challenges. Gen Z’s penchant for quick, easily digestible content has led to a preference for images—think photos, emojis, video, GIFs, and memes because they allow them to communicate faster and more intuitively. Brands marketing to this generation will need to keep that in mind, delivering their message in shorter, platform-specific bites that capture – and keep – their attention.
Just Google It
Immediate access to information has allowed Generation Z to become incredibly adept at research. They are the ultimate, “I-want- to-know,” “I-want-to-go,” “I-want-to-buy,” consumers. They do their homework and are exceptionally media savvy, able to see through inauthentic corporate messaging or advertising that appears too glossy and perfect. This will present a challenge to marketers who rely on images of perfection to sell products—this generation embraces individualism and quirks, so should your advertising.
Multi-Cultural and Multi-Dimensional
Family diversity in race and size is the norm for this generation, and race and gender are more amorphous for Gen Z than any other group, ever. This generation is the first to grow up with an African-American President and are the most racially and ethnically diverse in American history. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, racial and ethnic minority children under the age of five are now the majority as non-Hispanic white children make up an ever-smaller slice of the population. During their lifetime, long-standing views on sexuality and gender have been challenged by the legalization of gay marriage and the acceptance of LGBT and trans-gender individuals. Keeping this in mind, marketers who wish to reach Generation Z must think in broad strokes, promoting diversity and inclusiveness rather than exclusivity.
A Global Worldview
Because they’re so connected, Gen Z has a completely different worldview than previous generations: having grown up during a recession, they are value-minded and pragmatic. Researchers found that 57% of Gen Z would rather save their money than spend it. Constant access to news has heightened their awareness of environmental concerns (76% are concerned about the harmful impact of humans on the environment) and social issues and they are already working to affect change—25% of Generation Z teens are actively involved in volunteer work. Transparency is key when speaking to this generation. Marketers who are candid about their supply chain, labor practices, and ethical policies can also inspire them with causes to rally behind and feed their desire to impact social change.
Stay tuned for part two in our series, Meet Generation Z, where we’ll explore their shopping habits, social media preferences, and how their influence is already impacting the U.S. economy to more than $44 billion per year.
Today, brands have to remain nimble to engage with each generation among multiple verticals. Learn how your brand can benefit from our expertise. Contact Women’s Marketing to learn how we can help your brand span generations and remain relevant in a highly competitive marketplace.
Sources: Sparks & Honey: Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials; WWD Gen Z Starts to Make a Mark, August 5, 2015; Winter/Spring 2015 Cassandra Report: Gen Z