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The Inbound Playbook

Connecting With The Post Digital Generation: The GENERATION ‘Z’

03 Oct 2017

Are you ready for the next big wave of consumers that have come of age?

They’re the first ‘digital native’ generation (i.e. ones born after the internet). The generation after the Millennials, some call them the ‘Generation Z’ while some prefer the term ‘iGen’

However you want to identify them, the oldest among this cohort (born between 1995 and 2010) are already 22 years old and just out of university, and by 2020 this young demographic is estimated to reach a global population of 2.6 billion

It’s time to get acquainted with these ‘cyber savvy’ minds whose phones have always been ‘smart’ and half of them can’t live without YouTube. Part of this population was born after 9/11 and they take recession, terrorism, violence, volatility, and complexity as a way of the world they live in. For them Bill Clinton is a president from history and typewriters are as old as ‘steam engines’. 

In the US alone, this generation will account to 40% of the consumer population by 2020. One key study highlights that Gen Z has a significant influence (93%) on family spend, which coupled with their own spending, arms them with the buying power of $44 billion! 

Today, we look into some of the unique traits and preferences of Gen ‘Z’ to help us understand and connect with them: 

Authenticity Is Key

There’s no debate that consumers of today are drawn to ‘authenticity’ when it comes to brands and products, Gen Z seems to seek this attribute in brands ever so deeply and expect them to show their true colours. 

For a Gen Z, a brand needs to be more than just ‘transparent’ with their work. They need to know what brands are doing for the society, and look for brands that are reflective of their personal values. Regardless of their size, it’s not a brand name or popularity that wins the hearts of these younger consumers, but the genuineness they possess in their contribution to the global community, will win the attention and loyalty of the generation ‘Z’. 

Realistic & Independent

One of the striking difference in the Millennials and The Generation Z is that Gen Z is much more realistic because the majority of them were brought up by their skeptical and straight forward Generation X parents, who grew up in times of recession. Whereas the millennials were always encouraged to be optimistic by their ‘Baby Boomer’ parents, who grew up in times of prosperity and opportunity. 

Having a more pragmatic approach to life and being aware and prepared for the challenges life has to offer, 77% of Gen Z expect to work harder than their previous generations

When it comes to independence, Gen Z seems to value it more than their predecessor, as they are driven by the beliefs that, “If you want it done right, then do it yourself”. They’re more ‘competitive’ than ‘collaborative’ and prefer to hustle with a ‘do it yourself’ mindset. 

Speed

Many accuse Gen Zers for having a short attention span, but in fact it’s simply how their brains are adapting to their swift digital environments. 

Growing up in a world where their options are plenty but time is limited, Gen Z have enhanced their skills in sorting through and assessing  a large volume of information with speed, hence being labeled as impatient. Marketers who wish to reach to Gen Z should be armed with short and ‘to the point’ strategies . No wonder applications like; Snapchat, Instagram and Vine have been highly successful in catering to this cohort’s ‘short attention span’ and the need for speed. 

Security & Availability

Unlike Millennials, who used social media to put out their thoughts, opinions and every noteworthy or cringe-worthy updates, Gen Z are more calculative, selective and secretive as to what information they share online. 

They want to know they can trust a contact centre,  application or a brand to handle their personal data, and they value transparency. That’s one reason why Gen Z are more into Snapchat, because unlike Tweeter or Facebook, the content they share is time bound and will not live forever. 

As these consumers move quickly, they prefer companies or brands they can interact with, to move at their pace, and be available at their call 24/7. This makes for the ‘always on’ chatbots and virtual assistants being a popular choice for businesses. 

Digital ‘Savvy’ & Need For Human Connection

Despite the common presumption that this ‘digitally native’ generation would be shopping online, study claims that Generation Z actually prefers to shop at brick and mortar stores

In fact an IBM study found that, with 67% shopping in physical stores most of the time and 31% doing business there sometimes – a massive 98% of Gen Z likes to walk into stores to find what they’re looking for. 

Gen Zers may be doing much of their researches and reviews in the digital world to make informed decisions, but when it comes to making real purchases, they look for the curation the stores offer, and they want to interact and talk to the store associates to salvage a ‘humane’ experience. 

The infographic below from Roberthalf.com will give you a snapshot of some of the expectations and attitudes of Generation Z: 

To Sum It Up… 

If brands are to engage with this inevitable wave of cyber-savvy young Gen 7 consumers,  their communication/marketing strategies should include a balance of both digitally driven automated approaches as well as a personalised, ‘human touch’ solutions, which acknowledge  and value their opinions, and helps them to create and carve an environment where they can shape their own experience!

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox on 0417 717 633 or email andy@element7digital.com.au 

Visit our website at  element7digital.com.au              

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