What do you get wrong about Generation Z consumers?
Generation Z is the term applied to the youngest generation of consumers, the 12- to 20-year olds just behind the Millennials. Unfortunately, they’re a confusing lot. They defy a number of stereotypes and expectations. They’re also significantly different from the young adults just a few years older, though they share some traits with Millennials such as digital literacy. Here are 5 things marketers get terribly wrong about Gen Z.
1. They are all micro-celebrities/love celebrities
Many stereotypes about Generation Z are fueled by social influencers on social media and those who try to be them. However, that isn’t what most Generation Z members are doing with social media. They do have the most screen time of any generation; however, most are turned off by pressure to sell themselves. They also don’t waste time watching a lot of ads. They’re intrigued by witting and entertaining content, but they won’t sit through hours of video because it has a famous person in it.
2. They embrace anything they see on the internet
Know that this generation is highly sceptical, so don’t expect them to take a famous person’s word for it either. They’re experiencing what is called a crisis of institutions, a rejection of most classic institutions. This actually undermines their trust in classic brands, though it opens up the floor to challengers. However, other factors mean you have to work hard to earn their trust, though they are incredibly loyal customers if you can do so. Attending talks like Make Way for Gen Z could be a great opportunity for marketers to learn about this generation and how to successfully market to them.
3. They’re all hyper-social online
It is easy to mistake the number of followers of a social media celebrity for how many friends they have, but they aren’t real friends, and most Generation Z members know this. Despite growing up online and craving the authentic, they are the loneliest generation to date. Note that much of this is due to broader social trends such as smaller family sizes, the rise of broken families, a decline of neighborhood socialization, as well as social media. This has indirectly contributed to their tepid feelings about committed relationships. Generation Z is the most concerned about digital privacy of any generation.
4. They are more high-tech than anyone
Generation Z has grown up with social media and technology, but they are pushing back against it. This is why just over half of Gen-Z members prefer face to face discussions over video chat. In fact, this generation increasingly values real-world experience. That’s why they choose to experience local cuisine and going sightseeing on vacation over partying, too. And while this generation isn’t always clear on the rules on phone use in the workplace, it doesn’t actually impact their productivity.
5. They are super-healthy and happy
While Generation Z has grown up with the most advanced medical technology in the world, they’re incredibly conscious about their health and worried about it. Part of this is due to greater awareness and education, and part of it is due to the obesity epidemic going on around them. A whopping two-thirds read food labels before they buy something. Conversely, they’re actually more patient than prior generations as demonstrated in several classic childhood psychology experiments.
Generation Z is starting to hit adulthood and the general marketplace. Don’t let stereotypes and misconceptions lead to mistakes marketing to them. And don’t worry so much about them, either.