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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Generation Z

Want the A-Z on Gen Z? Here are five things you need to know in order to effectively reach this important new demographic.

Move over, millennials. After years of catering to preferences and impulses of Gen Y, marketers are starting to shift gears and zero in on an emerging powerhouse: Generation Z.

Defined as those born between the mid-1990s and the mid-2000s, Gen Z is currently the largest generation, representing nearly 26 percent of the U.S. population.

They’re also the first generation with little to no memory of a time without household Internet, Facebook, or smartphones — they were 12 (and younger) when the first iPhone was released.

Want the A-Z on Gen Z? Here are five things you need to know in order to effectively reach this important new demographic.


1. They have significant buying power

Consider this: 93 percent of parents say their Gen Z kids influence household purchases. By 2020, Gen Z is expected to control nearly 40 percent of consumer spending as they age into young working adults.

How this emerging generation shops is also worth noting:

  • 58 percent are willing to pay more for quicker delivery

  • 73 percent would buy something based on a social media recommendation

  • 53 percent mostly use their phones to make online purchases


2. They’re more guarded online

Compared with the share-everything millennial generation, Gen Zers are choosy about they put online. They’ll scroll through their timelines, but won’t post. They selectively share photos on Instagram once in a while, but delete old ones first. They create alias accounts to keep their personal and public lives separate, and they make use of private channels to share content. It’s time for marketers to rethink tactics that require public sharing—Gen Zers are cautious about their digital footprint.


3. They expect authenticity and transparency

In a 2017 study, 65 percent of teenage Gen Z respondents said they disliked ads that made life look perfect. Seventy-seven percent said they preferred ads that depicted real people, in real situations.

Gen Z is fine with influencer marketing, too, so long as it’s transparent. They trust endorsements from online influencers and mainstream celebrities equally, and 79 percent say they don’t mind it when celebrities talk about why they like or use a brand’s product.


4. They want to connect with brands on social

Gen Z is 59 percent more likely to connect with brands via social networking sites than the general population. Translation: these true digital natives grew up with the modern internet; they’re not inherently annoyed by brand messages on their go-to social media platforms.


5. They value diversity

Gen Z is more “woke” than older generations. In a recent study, 72 percent of respondents said they rally behind racial equality. On Wattpad, themes like body positivity, inclusivity and social change have spiked in recent years. Take @ClaireKann’s #FatGirl Magic, for example. The story, which celebrates people of color and every body type, is currently sitting at 1.6 million reads.

In a marketing context, Gen Zers have no patience for companies that don’t prioritize diversity and equality, or for those who do it in a tokenistic way. Consider the backlash that ensued after Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad and Dove’s controversial body lotion commercial.

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