Who are Generation Z and why is it important to your business? This is the generation who come after millennials and they’re among the most important and influential consumers around today. It’s vital to understand them to help your business progress and move into the future.
First off, what age are they? People often assume that millennials are under the age of 20 but in reality, today’s millennials are actually in their late twenties and upwards. People classed as Generation Z can be said to be in their early teens, up to the mid-twenties and more importantly, their values and actions are quite different to millennials.
And they’re quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing group of consumers around, overtaking millennials and Baby Boomers in number and influence. Studies by Bloomberg suggest that 2019 saw Generation Z overtake millennials as the most populous generation – in the UK alone, there are 17 million people in the Generation Z age range. That’s a lot of purchasing power, which will only increase as they get older and start to earn more money.
Of course, Generation Z have a lot of disposable income, coming from pocket money for the younger members, and a lack of mortgages and other major financial burdens. But it is influence where Generation Z really matter, based on the affinity they feel with certain brands, and a willingness to promote and support their favourite products and services across social networks. Reports from 2018 show that 93% of parents say their children influence family and household purchases – this shows that a huge portion of market spend is because of Generation Z. These indirect purchases make big business.
But how best to appeal to Generation Z? A key quality is that they place great importance on what a brand stands for, and the causes it supports. Issues such as sustainability, inclusivity and diversity mean a lot to the people in this age range. But they have a strong instinct for inauthenticity – if a business adopts a cause for cynical reasons, they can quickly sniff this out. The values need to match the brand, and genuinely mean them – not just adopt them as a flimsy marketing strategy.
Generation Z have a lot of forces competing for their attention. They’ve grown up with smartphones, tablets and ultra-fast broadband internet so they’ve learned how to tune out information that they don’t find interesting or relevant to them. It’s not impossible to capture their attention but it’s harder than with previous generations. The key factors are to stay relevant, reflect their values and provide content that they either find useful or entertaining. In other words, be exciting and engaging – never boring.
It’s easy to underestimate the power and influence of Generation Z, but the smart brands know that this youthful range of consumers not only have masses of indirect power but if you capture their affections now, this will continue as they age and begin to have even more disposable income. But it needs to be real. Authenticity and social issues matter a lot to Generation Z, and they have the honourable aim of wanting to make the world a better place. If the values of your business align with these beliefs, it’s highly likely that Generation Z will become a loyal and wildly influential ambassador for your brand.