For Brands, Gen Z Is An Important Market

Gen Z is the generation born after millennials, in the years 1995 and into the mid-2000s. There’s around 60 million members, making it about 1 million people larger than millennials. They havea $44 billion buying power.

In short, Gen Z is the most influential, diverse and unique generation the world has ever seen.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that Gen Z is just like millennials. While millennials grew up with technology, Gen Z has always had it. Very simply, they haven’t known anything other than being able to order a pizza, watch a TV show and text their friends at the same time. Also, while millennials are often deemed lazy and entitled, Gen Z grew up during the recession giving
them a feeling of insecurity and unsettlement.

While many Gen Z members are still adolescents, early indicators show that some characteristics include self aware, self reliant, innovative and goal oriented. They also seem to be more pragmatic than millennials, humbled by watching the recession impact their parents. Despite being more economically conservative, they’re more open minded from growing up in the time of Caitlyn Jenner and see milestones like the first Black president being elected and the legalization of gay marriage. They haven’t known a world without this.

Contrary to the belief that Gen Z has an 8 second attention span, rather, they simply have an incredible BS meter (or digital intuitiveness) and can usually decipher within the first few seconds whether something is worth their time or not. Basically, they can smell marketing from miles away and will decide very quickly what brings value or entertains them.

And for brands, Gen Z represents an important market. With a buying power of up to $44 billion and another $600 billion influence*, brands need to be paying attention. Not only is it the fastest growing consumer demographic at about 1⁄4 of the US population, but by 2020, Gen Z will represent 40% of consumers. With marketing to Gen Z, it’s all about authenticity​ and transparency.​ ​After seeing 150,000 marketing messages by the time they’re 15, Gen Z has developed an incredible digital intuitiveness and can determine whether or not something is an advertisement within seconds. BS just doesn’t work with this generation. They’re smart, global and only influenced by their peers, which is why influencer marketing has become so important.

In fact, most of Gen Z trusts the opinions of YouTube stars more than traditional celebrities, largely because if an influencer is working with a brand, you know that they genuinely support it. If someone like Tiger Woods is promoting a shoe brand, you don’t know if he actually likes the product but if Jake Paul or Cameron Dallas are working with a brand, you know that they authentically enjoy the brand. This is largely because most influencers don’t want all their content to be advertisements as their audience, Gen Z, is turned off by walking advertisements. For brands working with influencers, it’s best to let the influencer create the content.​ ​Despite all the analytics and statistics you may have, they​ ​know​ ​their​ ​audience​ ​better​ ​than​ ​you​ ​do.

However, it isn’t until word of mouth that marketing becomes effective with Gen Z.

After all, it’s easier to sell to a friend than stranger.

If a friend suggests something, they’re more likely to pay attention to it than if they watch an advertisement. That’s why an app like Snapchat is so popular with Gen Z. It forces authenticity and personal connection that other apps don’t.

*Among other things, parents say that their Gen Z children have a major influence on purchases, adding to their $44 billion in buying power.

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