• Hayley Gibson

Generation Z: the up and coming consumers

Just when we thought we were getting to grips with the elusive millennial market, a new generation is about to come crashing into the consumer marketplace. And guess what? They are even more diverse, powerful and digitally grounded.

Marketers should always be one step ahead. Right now, millennials are at the forefront of brand marketing strategies as the most influential generation so far. Focused on gaining and retaining their attention, marketers are overlooking Generation Z, i.e. the siblings of millennials.

Gen Z’s are emerging

Typically defined as those aged 20 and under, Generation Z are hot on the heels of their brothers and sisters when it comes to making purchasing decisions. In just 3 years, their global population is predicted to reach 2.56 billion and they already have access to $44 billion in buying power a year. If brands don’t start connecting with this generation, they will lose out on a highly untapped market of powerful consumers.

How do they differ from millennials?

Generation Z are not just mini-millennials. Their upbringing, beliefs and desires are very different to their millennial role models.

As the first generation to be born into an entirely digital era, Gen Z’s are better multi-taskers but have a lower attention span, thanks to the number of devices they flick through on an hourly basis. They are more entrepreneurial than millennials, craving the knowledge and independence to do things themselves rather than relying on others. They also have higher expectations than millennials – they take digital communication as a given and expect brands to appreciate them. If not, they will move on and take their loyalties elsewhere.

Appealing to the Gen Z market

First and foremost, marketers need to penetrate the endless supply of content Gen Z’s see on a daily basis. With only an 8 second attention span, they need to know what the content is about, why they should care and how it will benefit them.

Secondly, marketers need to be more versatile with their social media platforms. This generation aren’t big Facebook users, preferring more personal connections on apps such as Snapchat and Vine. According to Gen Z expert Travis Wright, brands need to become part of the Gen Z community rather than just trying to sell. They should organically integrate themselves within the social platforms favoured by Gen Z users, always striving to inspire and influence them.

As an independent and ambitious generation, brands need to play a more supportive role as opposed to being leaders. Generation Z embrace challenges and want to create their own individual identities. Brand messages must shift from ‘we can get you there’ to ‘we can help you get there yourself.’

Providing long-term support

Generation Z are only in their teens. But this doesn’t stop their drive and determination to succeed. Brands that recognise and support these ambitions are likely to win over the hearts of Gen Z and be rewarded with loyalty and genuine social endorsement. Make your impression on these teenagers now and start building relationships that will soon extend to their purchasing decisions.