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Move over Millennials, we have a new target market in town: Generation Z (A.K.A Gen Z). The marketing stream has been hyper-focused on millennials for awhile, but now enters the next generation to be in the spotlight, and not one to be ignored. Born in the mid-nineties, Gen Z has grown up in the digital age, with ubiquitous internet access and bred to navigate the world with ease. Statistics Canada data from 2017 notes approximately 17.6 per cent of Generation Z makes up Canada’s population. That is a generation worth watching and brands are noticing.
For many, especially marketers, it seems obvious that digital would be the only channel worth connecting with this generation. But, do we have it all wrong? If you were to guess the generation that prefers print books over digital ones, enjoys shopping at brick-and-mortar stores and as few as 14 per cent own a smartwatch, you probably wouldn’t associate this with Gen Z. But, according to a new report by UNIDAYS and Ad Age Studio (Gen Z: Decoding the Digital Generation), over 22,000 students were surveyed, proving these surprising preferences, along with characteristics of Gen Z being more inclusive, accepting and risk-adverse.
There’s a fine balance with this generation between digital and traditional. Even though their lives revolve around a digital sphere, they tend to ignore the constant stream of ads and messaging and turn away from the digital noise. Information consumption for Gen Z is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Engaging with them digitally isn’t enough. To help accurately market to Gen Z, it is important to differentiate this generation from others. Here are a few things we know that sets them apart from their millennial predecessors:
They are digital AND non-digital.
They haven’t forgotten traditional mediums such as TV and paperback books and they easily straddle between digital and non-digital. While, Gen Z does receive most of its information from social media, it’s not solely digital for their means of information.
Key takeaway: e-commerce strategies are important for marketers, but don’t exclude in-store service – focus on the shopping experience.
Instant gratification is everything.
Thanks to social media and technology, the retrieval of information can happen whenever and wherever, making immediate gratification a must. Convenience is important here, more than any generation before. With same-day shipping, Google at your fingertips and apps to keep you from having to stand in line, patience is not a virtue.
Key take-away: this is not to be mistaken as laziness, but rather efficiency and simplicity – there’s no need to overcomplicate a message or product.
Gen Z is realistic and cautious about finances.
They grew up alongside the recession and were taught to be mindful with their money, even more so than millennials. Being internet-savvy, this generation knows how to find a great deal and get the most out of their money. They can find hundreds of similar products, so what makes yours stand out?
Key takeaway: it’s not enough to be price conscious, this generation is also looking for the value add.
Gen Z is not just an exaggerated version of millennials. They are unique, open-minded, money-conscious and resourceful. It is an important group of potential customers, clients, employees and employers who can help influence the future. As a brand or company, understanding these characteristics will help to accurately deliver products, services and experiences to this up-and-coming generation. Welcome Gen Z, we’re glad you’re here!
⦁ Illustrations: Stock Photos by Canva
Amanda is an Account Manger at Brookline Public Relations. She has an insatiable appetite for exploring – ironically since she doesn’t like getting lost. She flourishes on bringing broad-minded, creative ideas to the table and trying things outside of the norm – perhaps these are millennial traits?