Understanding The Gen Z Consumer
While the marketing industry is captivated by the technological shifts happening around AI and its capabilities, it is important to note another major shift in the industry that will undoubtedly affect your media strategy and targeting. That is the shift in generational power, especially when it comes to ‘Generation Z’.
The shifting generational landscape has transformed consumer dynamics. Baby Boomers are retiring and spending less, while Gen X enjoys heightened financial power. Millennials hold significant spending potential as they establish careers and families, and Gen Z leads the way as trendsetters. With these changes, understanding and connecting with each generation’s distinct buying habits poses a more significant challenge for marketers. As a result, advertisers are increasingly embracing direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies to gain insights into consumers, tailor messaging, and cultivate lasting relationships.
This blog will focus on the shifts amongst the newest and most volatile generation – Gen Z.
The generally accepted age denominations among these generations is as follows:
- Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (59-77 years old)
- Gen X: Born 1965-1980 (43-58 years old)
- Millennials: Born 1981-1996 (27-42 years old)
- Gen Z: Born 1997-2012 (11-26 years old)
The distribution of these generations is fairly uniform, but below we’ve included a graph providing further insight into the prevalence of each generation within the US:
As marketers, however, the size of these generations is not the shift that we are focused on – it is their values and how we can best reach them. Gen Z responds differently to certain messaging than other generations might, and it is important to adjust your strategy accordingly if you are looking to connect with this tech-savvy group. Keep reading to dive further into what to prioritize in your messaging for this generation!
Unsurprisingly, there are differences among generations when it comes to the they are active on. Check out what we have found in terms of where they spend their time.
If your brand aims to engage with Gen Z, increasing ad spend in social media channels is crucial. These platforms hold immense potential as 63% of Gen Zers actively seek connections with brands through social media. Following closely behind, Millennials also demonstrate a strong preference, with nearly half desiring brand engagement on social platforms. In contrast, it is no surprise that less than 1 in 5 Boomers show interest in social media interactions.
Following that same trend, Gen Z is most receptive to ads on social media, making it an essential platform for businesses looking to capture this growing audience. This young generation is 25% more receptive to ads on social media than the next leading channel, Streaming TV / Connected TV. This gap in receptivity only becomes more drastic as we reach deeper into the bag of channels and platforms from which advertisers have to choose. We know social media in and of itself is a pretty broad category, so let’s narrow it down even further and see which specific platforms they use most.
Gen Z consumers worldwide spend an average of 4.5 hours daily on their smartphones, with social media being one of the prime uses. The top 3 platforms used by Generation Z are Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram. The shift towards short-form content on these platforms may drive this demand from the youngest generation. Considering this, the best places to reach Gen Z are across their top social media platforms, with short-form content. Now that we know where to get these consumers let’s hone in on what to emphasize in our messaging to ensure we give ourselves the best chance to convert this audience.
Streaming platforms looking to engage Gen Z consumers should prioritize personalization and the digital experience. Diving deeper into these categories, here are some ways your brand can win over the hearts and connect better with Gen Z consumers:
- Authenticity and Transparency: Gen Z values authenticity, transparency, and accountability. Brands that establish clear values and a transparent mission while openly communicating their practices and policies are more likely to convert Gen Z consumers.
- Personalization and Community: Gen Z appreciates personalized experiences and a sense of belonging. Brands that offer tailored recommendations and customized content and foster a community through online forums and social media groups have a higher chance of loyalty within the Gen Z community.
- Purpose-driven Marketing and Establishing Brand Personality: Gen Z prefers brands with a mission and a unique personality. Let them know what you stand for and what drives you, and do it with a style that sets you apart. When your purpose aligns with theirs, and your brand shines with personality, you’ll capture their attention and drive conversions.
- Entertaining, User-generated Content: Gen Z values peer recommendations and engaging content. Brands that actively involve their audience in content creation through user-generated content and create fun campaigns can capture Gen Z’s attention and drive conversions. Keeping it lively, forge a connection that leads to higher conversion rates.
- Seamless Mobile Experience: Gen Z is a mobile-first generation. Brands that offer a seamless and user-friendly mobile experience, including fast-loading websites and mobile-optimized checkout processes, are more likely to convert Gen Z consumers.
By focusing on these critical factors, brands can effectively engage and convert Gen Z consumers by appealing to their values, personalization preferences, desire for community, purpose-driven mindset, and affinity for entertaining content.