A slew of recently published studies shed light on how brands can reach out to Gen Z consumers (typically defined as individuals born after 1995). In particular, the findings provide key insights on Gen Z’s spending and shopping habits, their brand loyalties and engagement, and the best marketing strategies to reach them.
Although Gen Z consumers don’t have as high of a spending budget yet as the generations before them, they still have $44 billion in buying power and are the largest generational cohort in the US coming in at over 60 million individuals. This latter key stat has brands and marketers scrambling to capitalize on their buying for years to come by building brand awareness now — 59 percent of Gen Z consumers said they trust brands they grew up with. But as the newest and least studied generation, brands all too often misunderstand the Gen Z market and don’t know how to effectively advertise their products to them.
Here are 10 ways brands can boost their Gen Z marketing, according to recent studies:
1. Gen Z values price and quality over brand name
A study last week by advertising agency Saatchi New York found that Gen Z cares little about traditional brand names or cleverly-branded names, for that matter. Rather, Gen Z covets high-quality products and brand authenticity. The Saatchi study further states that Gen Z consumers tend to be very skeptical of brand imaging. A similar IBM study found that over 50 percent of Gen Z-ers are willing to switch brand loyalty if a product is not up to snuff. Instead of manufacturing a perfect brand image, marketers should push more personalized and purpose-driven marketing at Gen Z-ers.
2. Gen Z consumers are less price conscious than Millennials and more willing to buy luxury brands
Echoing the finding from above, Gen Z shoppers highly value quality products and are willing to spend the extra cash in return for better quality. Unlike millennials, Gen Z is more and more frequently ditching discount stores like Ross, Rainbow, and Burlington for more traditional, luxury brands and upscale retailers like Vans, The North Face, and Ugg; according to a report from InMarket. And Gen Z consumers are less likely than both millennials and baby boomers to compare prices while shopping, according to Euclid Analytics.
3. Gen Z, surprisingly, love Brick-and-Mortar stores
Gen Z-ers have never known a world without cellphones or the internet, but, despite this, the group highly values shopping in person rather than online. The case is especially true when it comes to clothing, shoes, accessories, and makeup. According to the IBM report, 67 percent of Gen Z respondents shop in physical stores “most of the time,” and another 31 percent shopping at brick-and-mortar stores “sometimes”.
4. Gen Z is the mobile generation and mobile video is the best way to reach them
Just because Gen Z-ers don’t do most of their shopping online, it doesn’t mean that the internet and their mobile phone don’t play a huge role, especially in regards to video. In fact, 71 percent of Gen Z consumers say they use their cellphone to watch mobile video daily, compared to 51 percent who watch video on their TV daily and only 45 percent who watch video on their computer daily, according to a report from the ad firm Sharethrough. And since Gen Z’s mobile phones are their primary means of video consumption, it is important for brands to incorporate mobile video into their marketing strategies if they intend to win over Gen Z consumers.
And since Gen Z’s mobile phones are their primary means of video consumption, it is important for brands to incorporate mobile video into their marketing schemes if they intend to win over Gen Z consumers. According to Sharethrough’s findings, Gen Z-ers favored mobile videos that allow them to preview the video silently in-feed before viewing it and while reading the headline and description. The study also found that the headline and first three seconds of the video has a large impact on if Gen Z consumers will watch a mobile video. Marketers and brands should be wary of using ads that try to control Gen Z web behavior or disrupt their user-experience — 56 percent of respondents said these are the main reasons they use ad blockers.
5. Social media influences Gen Z’s shopping habits
In addition to reaching Gen Z through mobile video, brands should devote significant resources to drawing them in through social media as well — over 80 percent of Gen Z-ers say that social media influences their purchases compared to 74 percent of millennials, according to research done by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. Apps like Instagram (44%), Youtube (32%), and Snapchat (%21) are some of the biggest drivers in Gen Z purchasing decisions.
6. Gen Z are well-informed shoppers
When a Gen Z shopper walks into a store, they already know what they are looking for — or at least a staggering 98 percent of them do, according to the IBM report. On top of this, Gen Z-ers are more likely than any other generation to ask for help or seek advice from a store associate and they expect these associates to be as informed as they are on the store’s products and services. Companies like Apple and Best Buy excel at giving customers the online information they need as well as an in-store experience to match.
7. Meaningful engagement is the best way to reach Gen Zers
Gone are the days of traditional, straightforward product marketing. Now, brands are having to lead a full-fledged marketing campaign that not only advertises its product but inspires and draws the ever skeptical newer generations in. For Gen Z, this is especially true. Gen Z shoppers look for relevance and authenticity rather than a manufactured image. If they don’t get that, then their brand loyalty will go elsewhere. Influencer advertising on Instagram and Youtube is a great way of achieving this — if the influencer is trusted and transparent, that is.
8. Gen Z are more likely to participate in loyalty programs and product reviews
Although not as high as Millennials (71%), most Gen Z consumers (63%) participate in at least one loyalty program and the majority of both (64%) “could be persuaded to shop with a brand if they have a loyalty program,” according to firm CrowdTwist. In particular, Gen Z-ers prefer to play games and write product reviews to gain loyalty points.
9. Gen Z consumers seek a personalized shopping experience
One thing that both millennials and Gen Z share in common — 75 percent, according to CrowdTwist — are their willingness to give over personal information to companies if it means a more personalized shopping experience. Even more, Gen Z-ers expect brands to know and appreciate them just as much as they know and appreciate the brand.
10. Gen Z wants to make a difference if they can
Not only do Gen Z consumers expect a shopping experience tailored to their personality, they also want their brands to be socially conscious. According to the Saatchi New York report mentioned above, Gen Z-ers are even more likely than millennials to give their money to companies who do good in the world — “79 percent said they would engage with a brand that could help them make a difference.”