Generation Z is the segment of people born in 1995 or later. This subgroup makes up about 27% of the total population in the US, and in 2020, they took the title of the largest generation in the US, with 86 million members.
On top of that, Generation Z has enormous buying power…over $140 billion, to be exact. Seventy-five per cent of Gen Zers spend more than half of the money they have each month, and Gen Zers make up 40% of all consumers. This group is also extremely persuasive within their families, with 94% of parents saying that their Gen Z children influence the family’s purchasing decisions.
The Generation Z market
Generation Z is the most diverse subgroup in the US; while 61% of millennials in the US identify as non-Hispanic white, only 52% of Generation Z do. The majority of Gen Z’s enormous buying power goes to bills and other household expenses, but they also spend money on restaurants, electronics, beauty products, entertainment, and clothing/accessories. Gen Zers spend almost $167 per month on socializing expenses. Families of Generation Z students spend about $1,600 per child on back-to-school shopping.
Generation Z has always had the Internet in their lives and, as a result, is extremely tech-savvy. Ninety-four per cent of Gen Zers’ laptops and three out of four said that spending time online was their primary activity in their free time, with smartphones being the device of choice. Seventy-five per cent of Gen Zers say they get most of their news from social networks and follow at least one brand on social networks.
Gen Zers also tend to be brand loyal as long as the brand’s mission, product quality and service continue to meet their high expectations. Two out of three Gen zers (66%) said that once they have found a brand they like, they will continue to buy that brand for a long time. Sixty-five per cent said that rewards programmes influence their shopping, and 60% said they were happy to be associated with their favourite brand. To win this loyalty, brands need to show that they have a strong technology and market to Generation Z with clear and honest messages.
Generation Z and privacy
Not surprisingly, Gen Zers value their privacy more than previous generations:
- 87% say that the privacy of their personal information was more important to them than popularity metrics.
- 75% only allow location sharing for applications that need it to work.
- 58% switch location sharing depending on how and when they want to use it.
It is clear that Generation Z takes their privacy seriously and will be loyal to brands that do the same. According to the unique Generation, Z Study by IBM and NRF, less than a third of teens say they are comfortable sharing personal information other than contact information and purchase history, but 61% would feel better about sharing personal information with brands if they could trust that it was stored and protected securely.
1. Establish a clear voice
Generation Z loves it when brands project a strong personality. Fun and light-hearted content are popular among young consumers. Using social media trends is a great way to leverage humour and make your brand seem relevant. Just make sure you stay up to date; using Generation Z Marketing Trends that are so last year might elicit a grimace from young hipsters. Either way, your brand needs to have a strong and unique voice.
2. Build a community
Encourage consumers to interact with your brand by creating fun brand hashtags and asking people to tag your brand in posts about their products. Featuring user-generated content on your site is a strategy that is gaining popularity. So if someone buys, for example, a jacket from your brand, they can post a picture of themselves in it and tag your brand. Then you can share their picture on social networks or your brand’s website. This way, you get extra publicity, and they can enjoy a moment in the spotlight.
Other ways to build a brand community include:
- Creating a Facebook group for your brand.
- Posting on Instagram or TikTok.
- Asking consumers for feedback or ideas (i.e. what should our next launch be about?).
- Posting polls on social networks (i.e. which upcoming product are you most excited about?).
- Organizing giveaways.
3. Leverage influencer marketing
Generation Z likes to be engaged by “real people” – celebrity mentions are not as compelling. Gen Zers are more likely to be influenced by influencers on social networks, particularly YouTube, with 1 in 5 teenagers saying they use YouTube “constantly”. Partnering with influencers can significantly increase brand awareness; 65% of Gen Zers have bought something because an influencer recommended it.
4. Focus on visual content
The top three social media platforms among Gen Zers are YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. What do they all have in common? They focus on visuals. Generation Z consumers want short, snappy videos and eye-catching graphics. If you try to lure them in with large blocks of text, they may just scroll away. Engaging this audience is worth investing in quality visuals and content that sums up the essentials.
5. Taking a stand
Brand authenticity and social impact are important to Generation Z. Research shows that 77% of Generation Z have done something to champion a cause they believe in. They expect brands to do the same. Brands are working hard to make Generation Z understand that they are not just talking about social responsibility and change but doing it. Some of the causes that Generation Z tends to care about include:
- Diversity, equity and inclusion
- The environment
- LGBTQ+ rights
- Mental health
- Gender equality
You can use marketing to your advantage by clearly establishing your brand values. Discuss your brand’s mission openly and back up your statements with concrete actions, such as donating a percentage of sales to a non-profit organization or holding events that support important causes.
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