The topic of Millennials is transitioning into old news. The generation that is coming into power with a staggering purchasing power of around $44 billion is Generation Z: those born after 1995. This money is supplied by parents in the form of weekly allowances and accounts for a huge portion of the market. This is the next frontier for companies to target.
Compared to the previous generation, Gen Z has grown up in a different environment. This is the generation who is not familiar with a life before smartphones or the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Tolerance has become a staple in their lives with the first black President as well as the constitutional decision to make gay marriage legal. They have lived through the Recession and the growing increase in mass violence. These events have shaped the way they interact with the world around them and the characteristics that encapsulate the generation as a whole.
Gen Z is entrepreneurial, thoughtful, tech savvy, and private. Instant is the word that comes to mind when thinking about the generation as a whole. Never has there been such easy access to the knowledge that the internet provides. With new developments in technology happening at an exponential rate, there is a larger difference between the learning curve of this generation and the last.
The members of this generation are spending less time reading lengthy articles or watching long videos and instead are focusing on social media outlets like Vine or Snapchat. The short videos that Vine offers capture the attention of its users, which is only 8.25 seconds. Snapchat plays into the privacy aspect that most Gen Z members care about as well with the pictures being deleted directly after they are viewed.
They have grown up with Millennials being impacted by public posts online and therefore are more conscious about their online personas. Facebook is gradually fading out with the introduction of private applications for smartphones such as Whisper and Instagram. The ability to monitor who sees a Gen Z person’s profile is what makes these apps the standard.
The desired privacy is rooted in the parenting that fostered the growth of this generation. No longer are helicopter parents the norm, but Generation X and those on the tail end of the Baby Boomer Generation offer a realistic approach to raising their children. Gen Z is treated in a more adult manner to handle the negativity that has become so prevalent in the world within the past 20 years, creating a more independent generation. The idea of working hard towards a goal on their own is something most of those included in Gen Z look at closely.
Entrepreneurship has become a viable career path for a great number of those included in Gen Z. A study done by Millennial Branding claims that, “61 percent of high school students and 43 percent of college students would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee.”
Watching a large number of Millennials skyrocket to fame due to creative business ideas is the example that most want to follow. Independence leads those of Gen Z to dare to dream and work hard to make their visions realities. The internet creates the outlet that this younger generation uses to learn easily and quickly about how to follow through with these plans. Although many would rather work for themselves, the idea of pragmatism is also forever present. In a world where the Recession hit the economy hard, many are focused on going to school to eventually be placed in careers that make money. Stability is important to Gen Z. They are focused on their careers as well as the world around them.
The age range for Gen Z is still wide with only the oldest of the generation coming of age at the moment. However, many are taken seriously at younger ages when it comes to making decisions for themselves and their families. They are focused on what they can do to help instead of worrying about what others can do for them.
How Do We Target Them.
The biggest outlet almost all included in Gen Z look to is the internet. Marketing for this generation should focus mostly on this medium. Such a large percentage are constantly staying connected to the world through the internet and not even looking at cable, newspapers, or email.
It would be beneficial for companies to look into advertising new ideas on applications that can be downloaded on smart phones as well. This marketing should focus on applications such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Secret, Whisper, and Netflix. Most shopping as well is done online for clothes with more teens preferring to shop online instead of actually going to stores.
Hours are spent on the internet for those in Gen Z. It is important to funnel money into the location of websites on the pages of Google as well as creating a “cool” aesthetic for the website. Almost no one will even click on page two of Google to find something they are looking for. The easier an attractive website is to find, the more likely a member of this generation is to buy from there.
Due to the awareness that Gen Z possesses about the world around them, it is also important for companies to make a point of advertising the effect that they have on the environment around them in a positive way. The uncertain future that many are facing in Gen Z is what fuels this idea.
Overall, this generation is constantly evolving with new technology being introduced each day. The important thing for companies will be to use this new technology to their advantage and reach the purchasing power that Generation Z possesses.
Generation Z proves that what is next is really now.