Characterized as someone who’s born between 1997 and 2012 (Pew Research Centre in 2019), Generation Z is the newest generation to enter the workforce and start gaining purchasing power. Just as when researchers start to fully understand Millennials, Gen Z is the next generation that’s quickly emerging and will become increasingly more important in just a few years.
There’s still a lot of research to be done to gain a deeper understanding of this young generation, but we’re starting to recognize the difference between Gen Z and older generations, in particular, the distinctiveness between Gen Z and Millennials. If you seek to attract Generation Z consumers to your brand, Microswift has comprised a short report on what you need to know about Generation Z to help you market and position yourself better in the eyes of these digital natives:
1. They are “Constantly-On” consumers
Generation Z consumers are all about technology. They’re the first truly digital generation. Growing up in a technologically advanced world of smartphones, wifi and social media, they are used to absorb tons of new information every day.
The average Gen Zer can spend several hours a day on their social media or searching the Web for information they’re interested in. However, this is also regarded as “the loneliest generation” despite all of their digital connection. Research shows that they suffer from cyberbullying, mental health and body image issues more than any other generation in the past.
The extreme connectivity of Gen Z gives them access to a global community that they are actively involved in — and rely on when it comes to making buying decisions. Gen Zers perform a lot of online research and companies trying to reach this audience would be well advised to attract them by electronic means (social media, online ads, digital marketing) compared to old-school print, radio or television methods.
They are researching online companies and relying on user reviews to back up their gut instincts about a brand before they do business with them. That word-of-mouth pipeline is one of the reasons why review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and TripAdvisor are so popular— and brands should be more aware of the increasing domination of online reviews and should have a plan in place to manage their online reputation effectively.
2. They have a shorter attention span
Out of all generations, Gen Z has the shortest attention span, which lasts merely 8 seconds (compare to 12 seconds of Millennials).
They also enjoy short-form video content like Snapchat & Instagram Stories or TikTok videos, while older generations prefer longer-form content such as podcasts, detailed videos, or documentaries.
This suggests that ads that trying to appeal to millennials can get away with somewhat longer or more in-depth material, while brands that are selling to Gen Z will want to get their value proposition through their advertisements as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Most of today's digital and social platforms are becoming more video-driven. It reflects the fact that the use of video among all generations is growing rapidly. Whether you're creating long-form content for millennials or short-form clips for Gen Z, when promoting your brand to either audience, you'll want to embrace mobile-optimized and personalized videos.
3. They care about corporate social responsibility
Gen Zers are environmentally conscious and want to make a difference in the world more than all of their previous generations. They want opportunities to make an impact and may grow to become donors to charities or volunteer to support a cause in their adult years. They grow up in a world where diversity is the norm and they embrace inclusivity and appreciate companies that hold the same value. Gen Zers will feel more resonated with marketing campaigns that embrace diversity, love and respect and feature a variety of races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, or body types.
Brands that embrace the mission of Gen Z to do good in the world have a better chance of earning their trust and loyalty.
Find a theme that they care about, such as poverty, climate change, fair trade, etc. and turn it into a cause that your brand also supports.
4. They are pragmatic and “thrifty”
Growing up and witnessing the financial recession of 2008 has made Generation Z extremely money-focused and realistic with how they spend their money. Prices of products/ services certainly play an important role in forming their purchasing decision. Compared to Millennials, they do less online shopping. A recent study by Ernst & Young reported that while 74 percent of millennials buy products online more than once a month, just 49 percent of Gen Z do the same.
Additionally, Gen Z value discounts, coupons, and free delivery (HubSpot, 2019). If you’re trying to market your products to Gen Z, you're going to want your ads to show clearly how or why your product is going to be useful or realistic for them in their daily lives, and don’t forget to entice them with promotions and sales. They are the type of consumers who are likely to be persuaded by the practicality rather than the “trendiness” of the products.
5. They are captivated by interactive video-driven campaigns
To captivate the attention of Gen Z consumers, advertisers need to adapt to technology and new forms of storytelling since conventional advertising will not work. Gen Z consumers react to edgy and interactive marketing tactics. Videos — especially short ones such as those produced through the TikTok social network — work especially well with young customers. To effectively convince Gen Z to support your brand, you should create content that easily cuts through the chase and clarify distinctively what value your products can offer them.
Gen Zers want to use videos to learn about things, as described above, and also spend most of their online time on their mobile phones. So make sure your campaigns take advantage of short-form video format and mobile-optimized content. It’s also crucial to promote your brands on niche social media platforms that Generation Z usually uses, such as Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
What does the future hold?
Generation Z is a growing group of consumers that will shape the future. When Gen Zers join the workforce and increases their purchasing power, businesses cannot continue to function within traditional assumptions that “Gen Z is just Millennials 2.0”, because clearly, the two generations have their distinctive differences.
...businesses cannot continue to function within traditional assumptions that “Gen Z is just Millennials 2.0”...
To deliver products, services and experiences that this elusive and evolving generation is looking for, a deeper understanding of Generation Z consumers is required and your business needs to prepare to evolve fast enough to keep up and stay on top of this new generation’s wants and needs.