By Derya Yildirim
Born between 1995 and 2012, Generation Z is estimated to comprise a population of more than 2 billion people, who collectively boast an astonishing $143 billion dollars in purchasing power. Given that they have grown with the internet boom, the way they communicate, acknowledge, and interact with brands has shifted in comparison to previous generations. This upbringing has consequently brought about differences in the way Gen Z behaves as consumers.
Although they grew up to become digitally savvy, recent research by IBM reveals that Gen Z isn’t easily accessible. This is because their tech-savvy also means that they’re more skeptical when it comes to brands’ intentions, leading them to place value on quality and authenticity rather than brand gimmicks and marketing hype. As such, they’ve become more selective when it comes to interacting with brands, hence preferring trustworthy and transparent brands.
Besides authenticity, Gen Z also prioritizes different brand aspects than previous generations. Alongside the trust that Gen Z requires, they also crave a sense of community. For brands, this means providing a collaborative space where consumers and brands can converse, debate, and discuss as “friends” on aspects of the brand. This interaction also seeps into their desire to be part of product development. Gen-Z shoppers like being part of the product creation process and want to provide feedback and suggestions to brands.
Gen Z also demands that brands showcase diversity and inclusion, with a McKinsey study showing that 75% of Gen-Z consumers protest companies that discriminate against race and sexuality. This preference for diversity also needs to be reflected internally, with more than 50% of Gen-Zers stating that they would like to see more diversity in senior leadership.
Additionally, Gen Z increasingly prefers personalized experiences and products. Their access to technology has resulted in their expectation for fast and seamless experiences, with these experiences often being propelled by data analytics and machine learning. These are subsequently being used to create personalized experiences based on consumers’ journeys.
Personalized experiences may come in the form of personalized ads and personalized content. Research by The Harris Poll revealed that 28% of Gen Z are more likely to purchase a product based on a personalized customer experience.
Consequently, brands should leverage the power of social media by establishing a collaborative and diverse platform for conversation, where brand interactions are personalized and catered to the individual consumer. As a result, Gen Z can view brands as individuals rather than larger entities, and expect them to be able to communicate and co-create with them authentically.
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