Gen Z is the newest generation of shoppers. Born after 1995, Gen Z will account for 40% of all shoppers by 2020. The oldest members of Gen Z are recent college graduates and new entrants to the workforce. While most aren’t entirely independent yet, they do have money to spend. Forbes reported at the beginning of this year, Gen Z is responsible for up to $143 billion in sales.
It’s important for business owners and retailers to understand this key demographic. Gen Z isn’t just young Millennials – in fact, in many meaningful ways, they’re quite different. While some Millennials are digital natives, Gen Z grew up with the tech world as we know it today. Their expectations have been shaped by a lifetime of social media and online shopping. This impacts their customer behaviors in three ways:
1 -Mobile First: The Gen Z shopper is much more likely to engage with your brand via their smartphone than any other device. A brand’s social media presence is more important to Gen Z than their website, especially for discovery and research.
2 – Different Messaging Channels: Jim Ninivaggi of Brainshark points out that Gen Z has grown up on Youtube, Netflix, and Reddit. Short videos – 1-3 minutes in length – are the preferred content form. Gen Z isn’t going to Facebook to connect with their peers: they’re relying on Snapchat, Instagram, and native apps.
3 – Research: Gen Z expects to be able to research everything and get results instantly. They’re also more likely to use voice search than their Millennial counterparts. Gen Z is also heavily influenced by reviews and other forms of User Generated Content – things like unboxing videos and peer tutorials are very influential.
As a business owner, the first thing you want to know is what percentage of your current customer base is or is influenced by Gen Z. 93% of families with Gen Z members report that they have moderate to significant influence on family purchasing decisions – bear in mind that the parents of Gen Z may be Millennials or Gen X; Gen Zers who live with their grandparents may be living with Gen X or Baby Boomers. Your digital data is the best source for this information. Once you have that information, you can assess how important it is to tailor your marketing to appeal to Gen Z: it may be that you need to do so immediately, or you may have a few years to ease into trying to connect with the next generation of shoppers.