Generation Z is a new target that is attracting more and more attention of brands and marketers around the globe. Counting for 27% of the world population today, its projected to reach 2,56 billion individuals globally by 2020. These new consumers are already influencing the purchasing decisions of the households and changing the way the brands and businesses communicate and promote their products. They are expected to surpass all previous generations in terms of purchasing power in the near future (currently 44bn$ annually in the US according to the study by IBM and the National Retail Federation). So what do they expect from brands? How the marketers can target them effectively? Lets look into a few strategies and tactics that are shaping up

Who are Generation Z

Generation Z is defined as born between 1996 and 2012. According to recent studies they share the following common traits among others: 

  • First truly digital and tech-natives. They’ve grown up in the world of high-speed internet, smartphones, social networks and easy access to news and any kind of information.
  • They are the most multicultural and global generation ever. Thanks to internet and social media, global trends, culture and fashion are shared by teenagers worldwide more than ever before.
  • This group has a very short attention span and they are Multi-tasking . Compared to Millennials, they take it to another level, capable of ‘zapping’ and switching between tasks and different devices. With any information available at their fingertips in just seconds, their pace of life is very fast and make them therefore rather impatient
  • Generation Z are pragmatic and realistic.They have grown in the world of global terrorism threats; tough economic environment and  financial crises.They are therefore less idealistic than Millennials and are concerned about their future
  • They are entrepreneurial. Generation Z have different expectations from their professional life. 72% of the high school students today want to start their business and 76% hope they can turn their hobbies into full time jobs
  • Generation Z is a connected and influencial target
  • These teenagers are open minded and do-gooders and they want to make a difference

What does this mean for brands?

  1. Phygital
    They don’t really see the difference between “online” and “real world”, while they are using their mobile app, exchanging with their friends on Social network platform or price tagging while in store. 61% of the Gen Z states that they cannot go without internet for more than 8 hours. They are using up to 5 screens on average compared to 3 for Millennials.
    The web is and will continue to be an absolutely integral part of their life. And of cause, it’s the first truly
    mobile first generation. The brands need to be able to offer the seamless omnichannel and phygital experience to attract  these consumers.
  2. Personalisation 

With the AI and Big data development, the brands have more opportunities to offer a truly personal experience to their consumers. This is exactly what Generation Z are expecting from brands in exchange of the personal information collected from them on continuous basis. They value their privacy and are worried about their security, so brands should make the data work more effectively to offer better targeted offers and personalised products. 53 % select the brands that understand them as individuals (IMB and National Retail Federation Study)

It’s also important to mention that Generation Z consumers reject a one way communication from brands. Making sure to respond to their consumers on any social platform be it Snapchat, Instagram or Twitter and doing it fast is key for brand’s customer relashionship.

3. Engagement

This generation is highly concerned and engaged to make a difference and create a better world. 26% currently volonteer, 67%  want their jobs to impact the world. 55% of the Gen Z consumers said to choose the brands that are eco-friendly.

They believe that  ‘everyone is equal’, often displaying more open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance than many adults (Mintel study, US teens and kids 6-11 y/o). As a result, they will be inclined to choose the brands that are engaged and tolerant as well, and invest in the brands that support the same causes as they do.

A recent example of a food industry giant Nestlé announcing its separation from a massive lobbying group GMA (Grocery Manufacturing Association) and a move towards Transparency and Animal welfare is being dictated by the shift in Generation Z consumers needs and wants. As they are concerned not only about the quality of their food but also about the environment and the lives of the animals providing these products.

4. Authenticity and Creativity

Authenticity is key, brands need to make sure their content is genuine and real. The Gen Z do not like superficial “brand centric” traditional ads.  They also have a very low attention span (about 8 seconds according to the study by Swiss Education group) so making sure your content is original and entertaining is very important too. Brands that engage their Gen Z consumers in a collaborative way in creation or in content sharing have all the chances of being adopted by these consumers.

5. Social Media and Generation Z

When it comes to the media used by the Generation Z consumers, there are also clear differences with the previous targets like Millennials. Youtube is by far the place to be to find the Gen Z consumers. 79% of 16-24 y/o use Youtube every day.

They value opinion of their peers and influencers. 7 of 10 Generation Z claim to trust a Youtuber more than a traditional celebrity. They are on Social networks, but prefer privacy and choose more anonymous platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Whisper. 


photo Illustration:Dianna McDougall;Source:Getty Images, Payton Hartsell

Use of influencer marketing is a powerful tool for brands but to be effective with Generation Z it has to be genuine and culturally relevant. Trying too hard to sell will be quickly understood and rejected.

Here is some further read to learn more about influencer marketing and this target

In Summary, Generation’s Z importance for brands is indisputable.  Its a tough crowd, highly influential by nature with very high expectations and a short attention span. Brands need to be true, creative and engage with the Generation Z consumers and their influencers in a relevant, creative and genuine way.




Image Credit:

Max Pixel

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