With a population of about 90 million and $143 billion in spending power, Generation Z is a rapidly rising consumer group in the United States. Born between 1996 and 2010, Gen Z has been a topic of conversation across industries trying to tap into their spending. Business Insider Intelligence even estimates that, by the year 2026, Gen Z will be the largest consumer population in the country.
It used to be easy to overlook this generation considering they were all just kids not too long ago, but with a fifth of them entering the workforce, it is smart to start developing strategies to market to them. In order to do that, you have to understand who they are, where they come from and how to reach them.
The Virtual Generation
Some consider millennials to be the virtual generation; however, Gen Z was literally born and raised in a world of unlimited resources at their fingertips. They do not remember a time before the internet and are more tech-savvy than any previous generations. If you wish to target this generation for your company, you have to realize that a good portion of their time is spent online. Be it Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc., understanding that you need to capitalize on where they spend their time is paramount to reaching them.
Products of the Great Recession
Even though they were just children at the time, Gen Z grew up amidst one of the worst financial crises of modern history: the Great Recession of 2008. Growing up watching their parents struggle financially has had an impact on the generation’s spending habits, making them more financially conservative than previous generations. They tend to value saving over spending and only spend money on products/services they truly deem valuable. Understanding how they spend their money is integral to marketing yourself and your company to them.
Authenticity and Brand Image
While they do have a lot of spending power, Gen Zers are still malleable in terms of preference as they seem to not have any strong brand loyalty towards their purchases. This leaves room for opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs looking to tap into this market. They also value the authenticity of a brand and, therefore, the people that comprise it. If you wish to promote to Gen Z, personifying your company by putting a face to it, your face, can make all the difference in reaching this customer segment. As long as you come off as genuine and down to earth, you and your brand will be able to appeal to them.
What ways can you make yourself and your company more appealing to Gen Z? Easy, have a purpose that you fight for. This generation has their finger on the pulse when it comes to today’s hot-button issues such as political, environmental and socio-economic problems in the country. With the amount of inter-connectivity, they have on a daily basis, they look for brands that share the same concern for issues as they do on social media platforms and other outlets. If your customer market cares about similar issues as you, don’t be afraid to talk about it to them on a social medium. A Google study found that this generation wants the brands they consume to be “a representation of their values, their expectations of themselves and their peers.” This is perhaps one of the most important aspects that you should adopt if you intend on marketing yourself and your business towards Gen Zers.
Looking To The Not So Distant Future
If you haven’t done so already, it is definitely worth at least beginning to strategize how you and your company can begin to appeal to Gen Z, regardless of your industry. They already have strong spending power in our economy and it will only be getting stronger as the years go by. While a lot of them may still be children, they are not all kids anymore. The year 2026 is not that far off, so if you want to start to think about the future of our economy as a customer, understanding them: their trends, shopping patterns, what they value, what they don’t value, now is a good time to start.