As many businesses continue to grapple with how they will market their products or services to the generation known as “Millennials” or “Generation Y” (those persons born between 1982 and 1995), the next generation is already in position to surpass them in terms of consumer buying power. Get ready for Gen Z!
Generation Z is defined as persons born after 1995, although most sources have yet to define the cutoff date. According to the U.S. Chamber Foundation, Gen Z already equals the Millennials in terms of percent of total U.S. population (and they continue to grow at a rate of 10,000+ births each day!). Gen Zers are “neo-digital native,” meaning that they are the first generation to be raised completely in the age of internet. As a result, their influences, interests and shopping behaviors are dramatically different than any prior generation.
Many companies dismiss Gen Z as too young to be considered their “target audience,” but this notion may prove to be a costly mistake. Brand awareness and perception of quality is already being developed or solidified by Gen Z through many platforms and media channels. Business owners need to care about Gen Z, because according to a 2015 Adobe report, this population group will account for 40% of U.S. consumers by 2020.
So how do you begin to market to Gen Z? First you need to understand them and their preferences. Consider these facts:
- They are adept at researching online; 33% watch lessons, 20% read textbooks or instructions, and 32% collaborate with classmates online.
- They utilize social networks for communication including Instagram and instant messenger tools, with a preference for auto-delete apps such as Snapchat and Wickr.
- More than 85% visit YouTube for search and entertainment options.
- Gen Zers are multiple device users; they rely primarily on their smartphones, but regularly turn to TV, laptops, desktops and tablets.
- They have high aspirations for themselves and the positive impact they will make in the world. They are entrepreneurially inclined with a desire to turn their hobbies into careers.
- Most Gen Zers (42%) are inclined to follow their parents’ influence or perspective versus the Millennial generation. They will usually follow suit until their own research drives them to a new or different conclusion.
It is hard to fathom that Google or Facebook may be considered “old school” someday, but that day is coming. This is the reason why these Silicon giants are urgently diversifying through acquisitions; they know something that YOU need to know.
As you consider your marketing strategies, consider the impact that Gen Z will have on your business in a few short years. How are you connecting with this audience? What impression will they have about your brand? What are your plans for Instagram, Snapchat and mobile?
As we use to say when we played the game Hide & Go Seek – “ready or not … here I come!”