Generation Z, also known as Post-Millennials, "iGeneration", Plurals or the Homeland Generation is a demographic cohort following the Millennials born between mid-1990's and early 2000's. They have lived a life comfortably immersed in technology and have no idea how to function without it. Every demographic impacts the retail ecosystem in various ways - whether it's the baby boomers and frugal spending or millennials and social influencers. One significant way Gen-Z makes an impact is leaving a larger footprint that goes beyond their own age group:
- More than 70% of Gen Zers influence family spending on everything from electronics and vacations to household items
- 67% of parents get their child's input before making a purchase and 59% won't buy an item if their child does not approve
- Parents consult their kids from the beginning - researching stage: 85% said they consult their
children during the research and planning phase of a purchase and 91% will get their child's input when they're actually choosing a product
However, Gen Z is physically present for only 1 of every 4 shopping trips. This doesn't provide a lot of opportunity for the retailers and brands to engage with the young consumer in person. This means retailers have to focus on customer loyalty through other channels - social media, your website, and other digital channels.
Millennials and Gen Z -- How They Differ on Social Media
Surprisingly, despite Gen Z being the first digitally native and tech-fluent generation born with lightning fast internet, streaming services and smart devices of all sorts, their social media sharing is vastly different than that of Millennials. In fact, this demographic shares more within smaller groups of trusted friends than on widely public platforms. Gen Z tends to gravitate towards platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram and although 86% of them use their smartphones multiple times a day retailers and brands often underestimate how mature and value-based they are:
- They grew up during a recession and not only witnessed but subsequently experienced adults losing jobs, homes and savings to the point where 83% of Gen Zers think it’s important to start saving now
- They are extremely socially aware and politically active - 60% of Gen Zers support brands that take a stand on issues they believe in
- They boast in their individualism and refuse to be told what to wear or buy - nearly 60% of Gen Zers say they prefer to create their individuality and fashion statements
- They tend to trust social media influencers as much if not more than mainstream celebrities
Consumer generated platforms are extremely important, especially YouTube
What To Do
Brands should be proactive about getting consumer-generated content. Gen Zers love expressing their feelings and being heard. Nearly 40% of Gen Z say they give feedback such as writing online reviews. Ask your Gen Zers for feedback through surveys, product reviews and the abundance of two-way social media channels.
How Valuable are Millennials?
About $1.1 trillion - millennials are responsible for an estimated $1.1 trillion of the country’s $3.6 trillion consumer debt but earns somewhere around $33,880 a year - down 9% in just a decade. This generation includes 80 million members and accounts for nearly $600 billion in annual spending. Their tendency of accruing large sums of debt has led to a need to reconsider their approach on consumerism in a variety of ways:
- 69% of millennials search for coupon codes and spend at least three minutes searching for them
- 79% of millennials are influenced by online deals
- 56% of millennials follow brands on social media just to get early access to savings
- Over half of millennials (58%) keep a separate email account just to receive brand information and promotions versus only 26% of baby boomers
- 47% of millennials have made three or more purchases via email recently
Don't Tarnish Your Brand on Social Media
There are many ways in which a brand or retailer can tarnish their brand on social media:
- One. Not using social media as a two-way communication platform between your and your users. Social media implies it's "social" so be "social". The power of social media connects you directly to your consumers, providing personal and proactive engagement. It's also imperative you do not go radio silent in times of reactive emergency. Do not ignore your users when they are demanding your attention.
- Two. Jumping on every trend bandwagon. It's a good strategy to tap into cultural events and news stories to reach a broader audience, but when poorly executed, you're looking at damaging effects. Remember to only chime in on conversations when it's in line with your brand and avoid any trending event that could ignore unwarranted or controversial debate.
- Three. #Excessive #Hashtags #And #Emojis - Just stop.
Everything You Need to Know About Millennials and Shopping Behavior
Understanding your shoppers is a crucial step in retail innovation. However, gathering data yourself is often difficult and expensive. Although every brand should implement data analytics, here are some insights on the millennial generation to consider:
- 53% continue to make the majority of their purchases from brick and mortar stores
- 31% make most purchases online via desktop
- 16% make most of their purchases via mobile
- 76% browse the internet before buying anything online or offline
- 67% begin from a brick and mvorstart store after doing research
- 33% buying online after doing research
It’s also crucial to understand millennials loyalty to brands through social media:
- 79% “greatly impacted” by finding deals and saving money
- 67% “greatly impacted” by free shipping
- 60% “greatly impacted” by product reviews and feedback
- 37% “greatly impacted” by fast and simple checkout
- 11% “greatly impacted” by product personalization
How Millennials Shop - Told by Millennials
Attendees at the Interactive Customer Experience Summit asked millennials questions to understand the millennial shopper and the findings varied:
- Three out of seven said “speciality stores” were their favorite place to shop
- In general, they are not as trusting of online offers as older consumers
- They are doing their shopping research online (including checking out blog posts of items) but still want to touch certain items before purchase
- 82% of millennials think physical stores are important (vs 69% of Gen Xers and 65% of Baby Boomers)
- They also pick up in store because they don’t want to wait for it to be delivered
Millennials are hestitant downloading mobile apps because they don’t want their actions monitored and are on a mission to “get in and get out”. They are wary of using mobile payments because of privacy and it’s convenience factor being that of a traditional card reader. Surprisingly, they also prefer to pay in cash.
Their associations with specific brands:
- Tiffany’s - expensive, aspirational, iconic, timeless
- Amazon - easy, snarky, convenient, amazing
- Sears - old people, dying, low end, clunky, washing machines, tires
- Uber - convenient, innovative, scandals, easy, amazing
- Starbucks - overpriced, too time consuming
- Apple - innovative, not as relevant
- Android - safe, on the decline, only product I use