By now, marketers are realizing that Gen Z is not just young millennials. The latest generation to join the workforce has its own unique preferences, and brands that don’t recognize these differences will fight them. Why is Generation Z sensitive?
McKinsey study found that Generation Zers place more emphasis on individuality than their older peers. They don’t see the difference between the people they meet online and the people they meet in person. Young people today value communities based on causes and interests rather than communities based on economic status. While millennials seek purpose through work, Gen Z sees work as a practical necessity.
The McKinsey study also found that Gen Z values individuality so highly that they are willing to pay more for products and experiences that allow them to explore their uniqueness. For brands, this means that personalization options will remain an important differentiator for years to come.
Why Gen Z is sensitive and what Gen Z values most
Gen Z cares more about product companies than older generations. Companies must hire a diverse workforce, support social initiatives and admit their mistakes in order to win the approval of young consumers.
Brands that meet these criteria will reap substantial profits over the next few years. By 2020, Generation Z will be 40% of all consumers.
Show Gen Z consumers that your brand deserves their cooperation by following these tips:
1. Provide more value per dollar.
Young people don’t have a lot of money yet, but they have high expectations – and they know how to look for the best deals. Gen Zers will spend more money on unique products and experiences, but sales companies need to ensure that young shoppers get their money’s worth.
“As digital natives, Generation Z knows they can always find something cheaper online,” says Mahesh Chadda, co-founder Reservations.com. “Brands need to offer something special to attract young buyers. Authentic experiences, especially those that look good on social media, are very appealing to this group.”
Take advantage of differentiation opportunities to justify a higher price. Limited editions, exclusive features, and personalization options all appeal to Gen Zers. Give them something they can’t get anywhere else.
2. Dedicate yourself to social and environmental causes.
Why is Generation Z sensitive? “Generation Z cares about our society and the planet” Falon Fatemi says, CEO and founder of AI company Node. “They want to leave their mark, in particular by making our society better than past generations.”
The days of brand agnosticism in the face of hot politics are over. Generation Z knows how to do research, and if a company says one thing and does another, young people will quickly point out the hypocrisy and go into business elsewhere. Modern companies cannot simply claim support or occasional donations—they must fulfill their missions throughout their business activities.
Attract Gen Z buyers by doing more than just profit. Choose something related to the brand, not just some popular cause. REI, for example, invests heavily in its conservation mission. When opposing groups challenge your cause, stand your ground. You may lose a few customers, but you will gain the respect and loyalty of an audience that shares your beliefs.
3. Adopt a mobile mindset.
Millennials got smartphones in high school and college. Generation Z was surrounded by smart devices in kindergarten and probably got a phone meant for kids like Gabb WirelessIn young age. They lived in this interconnected environment all their lives. IBM Research found that 75% of Gen Zers prefer mobile devices, and this preference becomes stronger as young people graduate from high school.
“Today, marketers only have seven seconds to grab Gen Z’s attention before they move on to something else — millennials have 12 seconds.” Mary Ellen Dugan says, director of marketing for technology platform company WP Engine. “Because they have been digital natives all their lives, Gen Zers have little patience when it comes to slow websites or mobile apps. They have endless choices and will move on.”
Build compelling, concise mobile apps to grab and hold the attention of Gen Z shoppers. Design product pages and content with mobile in mind. Make it easy for people to share content from their smartphones to benefit from user-generated content.
Generation Z is not only the future – it is the present. As Gen Z gains more purchasing power and talks more about how the world works, the older generation will begin to adopt some of the beliefs and consumer style of the younger generation. For brands, this means Gen Z buyer beliefs will rule the market for a few short years. Prepare for this change now or your business may end up on the wrong side of Generation Z’s strong personality.