Mar 16

Enough about Millennials, Let’s Talk Gen Z – Allison+Partners Blog

Over the past few months there’s been increasing media focus on Gen Z, and sessions on this yet to be fully understood generation are starting to pop up on the conference circuit, including one I attended at this week’s SXSW festival. Having spent the better part of the last decade targeting Millennials on behalf of our clients as well as managing a workforce filled with them, I was curious about the differences between these two consumer groups. I also had a personal interest in better understanding Gen Z as I share my home, and my heart, with two of them.

Generation Z, defined as those born after 1995, is the most ethnically diverse generation of our time.  The children of Gen X-ers, this generation is half the size of Millennials but its influence is expected to far outweigh its numbers. Originally referred to as “true digital natives,” Gen Z’s access to technology and use of social platforms has resulted in a generation of social authors. With smart-phones in their pockets at an increasingly young age, Gen Z is actually a generation of mobile natives.

Technology is such a prevalent force in the lives of Gen Z, there is virtually no difference between their online and offline worlds. They have relationships, real relationships, with people they have never met. Gaming, particularly Minecraft, serves as a connector, creating a culture around a shared passion.  Their desire for digital intimacy, customization and personalization creates an opportunity for brands who want to go deeper.

Unlike the generation before them, Gen Z has little interest in broadcasting messaging. Instead, they value privacy and one-to-one interactions. They are not an angry generation. They are practical, realistic and less emotional than Millennials. They are not on the merry-go-round of instant success and are not afraid to fail. In fact, they don’t like perfection. It’s just not real.

Gen Z has a different perspective on money than Millennials. They are conscious of what they’re spending and often look at what they’re buying as a potential investment. When it comes to purchases, they are much less receptive to recommendations from media and brands – 84 percent of purchase decisions are influenced by family and friends. However, digital influencers and You Tube stars are huge with this group. They are accessible and real, and having spent countless hours watching You Tube videos, Gen Z-ers feel like they know them.

So if you’re a brand and looking to connect with Gen Z, a few things to keep top of mind about this generation:

  • 2x more likely to use You Tube, 2x less likely to use Facebook
  • They embrace mobile, 2x more likely to shop online via mobile
  • Have an attention span of 8 seconds vs. 12 seconds for Millennials
  • Speak in imagery and value privacy, authenticity and transparency

With the oldest Gen Z-ers turning 21 this year and starting to enter the workforce, it’s important for employers to understand that for this group, “work is a thing you do, not a place you go.” And for me, and other Gen X parents who battle with their kids nightly to put down their phones, turn off the Netflix and focus, we can try and take solace in the fact that this generation hates their parents less than previous generations did!

Source: Enough about Millennials, Let’s Talk Gen Z – Allison+Partners Blog

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