We’ll be the first to admit that millennials deserve the attention they get from marketers. Between their annual buying power of $600 billion and their population of over 75 million, they’re a force to be reckoned with. Yet in the race to reach millennials, the newest kids on the block – Generation Z – have yet to receive the marketing attention they deserve. So step aside millennials, because Gen Z now has an estimated $200 billion in annual buying power (including influence on parental purchases) and they make up a staggering 22% of the US population.
Who is Gen Z?
This young population comes equipped with a seemingly endless list of quirks and attributes that set them apart from any other generation. Aside from being technology-obsessed and highly visual, there are 7 key traits that should be kept in mind when marketing to these young shoppers:
- They’re the first wave of digital natives. “Digital Natives” is referring to the first generation that is entirely digital. According to Pat Pape, the collective lifespan of Gen Z has occurred throughout a period where modern digital experiences have existed. While millennials had the opportunity to adapt to a digital world full of mobile phones and social networks, Gen Z was simply born into these “luxuries.” This generation has a digitally fluid lifestyle, with no distinction between the on and offline worlds.
- They’re hyper-connected. Nearly 100% of Gen Z connects to technology for at least one hour per day, and about half connect for more than 10 hours per day. And while connected, these young techies have mastered the ability to multitask across an average of 5 different screens throughout the day.
- They’re social (media) butterflies. While millennials prefer to spend their social media time on Facebook, 93% of Gen Z logs time on YouTube at least once a week (with over half of those users visiting multiple times per day). Only 65% visit Facebook weekly and 26% visit Twitter weekly.
- They’re cash conscious. Gen Z expressed strong feelings towards saving and spending money wisely. According to Pat Pape, 75% of Gen Z feels that actively saving money is important, and 50% would openly classify themselves as “deal hunters.” When they do spend money, Gen Z’s top spending category is food and drink (36%).
- They have major pull on the family purse. 93% of Gen Z parents have indicated that their children have at least some say in their frequent purchase decisions. This is why it comes as no surprise that this generation will increase American family spending by nearly $600 billion.
- They don’t hate branded messages. According to Digiday, 55% of Gen Z will stop and watch an ad if it makes them laugh, 45% will stop and watch if it’s got great music, and 33% will sit through an ad if it’s “inspiring.” Even more, 64% are more likely than other generations to accept branded messaging throughout mobile app experiences or even direct brand contact via SMS.
- They look for quality and utility. By nature, Gen Z is a more practical generation than their millennial counterparts. Gen Z recognizes the need for utilitarian and quality-based attributes in the items and content they consume. At the end of the day, they are happiest with a brand when it has provided them with value, especially in the form of discounts or personally relevant sales/discovery messaging.