As the Millennials move steadily into their 20s and 30s, their successor Generation Z is emerging as a global consumer force to be reckoned with. In preparation for our forthcoming Generations series Polly Ashdown, Marketing and Communications Director, examines what makes Gen Z so distinctive and how brands can capitalise on the opportunities they provide.
Born into the age of the Internet, Gen Z has more information at their device nimble fingertips than any prior generation. Smartphone ready, they seem to easily navigate a wide range of apps for socialising, entertainment and, of course, shopping!
They are the first generation who think it is perfectly reasonable to make an online purchase and see it arrive within the hour, something firmly in the realms of science fiction for the Jetson watching Baby Boomers.
Interestingly, the impact of Gen Z is spreading through families, this study by Interactions shows that 70 per cent of parents turn to their Gen Z offspring for advice when making a buying decision. And Gen Z has set the bar very high indeed, as retail author and former president of Rick Segel & Associates, Mathew Hudson, explains:
“Their expectations of a retailer are more demanding and higher than any other generation. If the store experience does not deliver, they will walk. They want a store that embraces technology the way they do, that makes products accessible and easy to test, yet they still desire human interaction.” Source: The Balance
The result of this ‘always-on’ culture is the increased need for seamless automation, instant updates and concise communication. Having grown up with both ‘fake news’ and targeted digital advertising, this cohort are brand aware – especially when making purchases, and will soon be a consumer force to be reckoned with.
In fact, Bloomberg reports that by the close of this year Gen Z will surpass Millennials to become 32 per cent of the world population, emerging as a lucrative target market with sheer purchasing power.
It isn’t surprising that global brands are searching for new and innovative ways to exploit this sector. A pertinent example is the way that established names such as L’Oréal, Shiseido, Estée Lauder and Chanel are developing a new cosmetic industry for young men. This fledgling market is already worth $1.14 billion and looks set to grow.
Frictionless and bite-size formats like YouTube, SnapChat, Instagram, Siri and Alexa are part of the ordinary life for Gen Z members. They are exposed continuously to online sharing, preference-based advertising and social influencers, so maintaining a positive digital reputation and market share in the online community has never been more critical for brands.
To stay on top, businesses must create strategies to increase (and manage) their social media footprints and supply always-on communication like chat, messaging and video services.
This digital focus is certain to continue, as according to a LivePerson study of behaviour trends, 8% of Millennials and Gen Z members interact with each other more online than in person, an incredible 70% even sleep near their phones.
Photo Credit: Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash
It’s clear that younger adults are at the vanguard of the always-connected, with some online ‘almost constantly’ according to the Pew Research Center, who reveals that:
“Roughly four-in-ten 18- to 29-year-olds (39%) now go online almost constantly, and 49% go online multiple times per day. By comparison, just 8% of those 65 and older go online almost constantly, and just 30% go online multiple times per day.” Source: Pew Research Fact Tank
As a result, this generation will enter employment fluent in more digital devices than any other preceding group. By 2025, the workforce will significantly be composed of people for whom technology and globalisation is a way of life. This will create challenges for employers and John Hall, Co-founder at Calendar.com and entrepreneurial speaker, is right on the money with this advice:
“I strongly encourage others to consistently educate themselves on how to understand different generations. Changing how you manage early career talent can ensure they not only stay but also add value for years to come.” Source: Forbes.com
At Webhelp we help organisations to attract and engage this new generation in several ways: by looking after social footprints, providing seamless automation and technological innovation and by recruiting the best fresh talent to surpass the competition.
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