From the fixation of businesses in recent years with millennials (those born between the early 1980s to mid-1990s), many are now shifting their attention towards the millennials’ successors: Generation Z. How can products, services, and marketing approaches be devised to attract this new target population?
Gen Z is generally the future of retail. Born after 1996, this emerging generation has a new worldview and different expectations as customers compared to generations prior. Marcie Merrimen, executive director of growth strategy and retail innovation at Ernst & Young mentioned to Business Insider that “if you see it from a spending perspective, teens or Gen Z are millennials on steroids.”
Important Generation Z Characteristics that Businesses Should Know About
Gen Z’s non-traditional mindset and different communication styles pose challenges to reach out to this population effectively. Gen Z are the most influential group of technology trendsetters, offering a prequel to predict upcoming trends in the aspects of retail, technology, and consumer behaviour. Hence, it is important for businesses to understand key characteristics that make them stand out from the past generation of consumers to identify effective ways to approach this generation.
Despite sharing many similarities with millennials, there are also key distinctions that define Gen Z audiences, such as:
Generation Z are More Technological-Savvy
As the earliest batch of Gen Z’s were born in the late-1990s, they have never known a world without smartphones and social media, being exposed to them at a very young age. They are able to receive and absorb information almost instantaneously, which makes them ever-ready to move on to other things. Hence, when it comes to disseminating information to this generation, seconds matter.
As Dan Schwabel, managing partner of Millennial Branding puts it, “we tell our advertising partners that if their messages are not communicated within five words and a big picture, they will be unable to reach this generation effectively.”
Generation Z Tend to Express Themselves Through Brands
To Gen Z users, a brand should be more than just a logo and a tagline; the brand should have a story and persona that they can relate to. Gen Z users like to use brands to express themselves – their beliefs, outlook on life, their values, et cetera. In fact, they are willing to pay relatively more just to own a product that reflects their personality; an essential statistic that all businesses should always keep in mind.
Gen Z Appreciate Privacy
According to Ryan Scott, although Gen Z are exposed to a variety of social media platforms, they have less interest to share their lives in the public sphere unlike millennials. Which explains why you will notice that many social networks today have followed in the footsteps of Snapchat by introducing temporary timelines which automatically delete themselves after a certain period, such as Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories.
Generation Z has Higher Expectations
Being born in the heart of technology’s rapid advancement, Generation Z have a pre-set list of expectations for product services. As Merriman explains it, “when something is not working fast, millennials will conclude something is wrong. If they do not feel loyalty from businesses and brands, they will move on in search of others that will meet their expectations. To them, loyalty is a two-way process; businesses need to earn their loyalty by first being able to promise what they preach and meeting Gen Z’s expectations”.
Preparing for the Gen Z
How can companies prepare for the influx of Generation Z entering their circle of clientele? Generation Z is like the barometer, which has highest level of expectation among all the consumer generations. Hence, companies should take the necessary measures to accommodate to the needs of Gen Z. Here are some ways for businesses to cater to the Gen Z consumers:
Keep It Short and Simple
Researchers have concluded that Gen Z has an average attention span of 8 seconds. This challenges businesses to keep their messages concise. Keeping information understandable ensures communication between businesses and targeted consumers, improving customer engagement, while utilizing creativity to deliver value. Potentially viral multimedia content such as videos, memes, and infographics provide simplistic yet detailed insights to a brand’s offerings.
Walking the Talk
When it comes to engaging Gen Z audiences, honesty is the best policy.
Gen Z’s demand for corporations to fulfill their civic responsibility and uphold their values means that businesses must be prepared to be accountable and transparent. From encouraging sustainable production and quality, Gen Z’s demands to constantly improve what they offer to their customers.
Giving Back for What You Have Been Given
Another aspect that businesses should keep in mind of is to focus on giving back to the community. According to a study, 87% of Generation Z believe that corporations should play a larger part in community development. This means that businesses should channel more finances towards their corporate social responsibility efforts.
Generation Z provides a whole new paradigm for businesses to adapt to, but these challenges pose new opportunities.
Written by Jonathan So for the iPrice Group. iPrice Group is operating as a one-stop shop e-commerce aggregator across 7 markets in Southeast and East Asia with key feature in price comparison.