By Haley Chung
Are you looking to expand your reach and target Gen-Z consumers? To understand Gen-Z consumer behavior? Who is Gen Z anyways?
Generation Z is the cohort that follows millennials, and is generally accepted as anyone born between the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2010s. They’re the first generation to grow up with the internet, with some Gen Zers never knowing a life without the internet. As a group with $143 billion spending power in the U.S. alone, they’re definitely a huge group to which your brand should be marketing.
Understanding social media marketing is crucial to understanding Gen-Z consumer behavior. According to an Epsilon research report on cross-generational marketing, Gen Z is two times more likely than any other generation to shop online. In fact, market research shows that 85% of Gen Z learns about new products via social media. They also report that 61% of Gen Zers claim they base purchasing decisions off peers, meaning traditional marketing strategies may not be as effective here. Instead, Gen Zers are more likely to rely on influencers—popular social media content creators—to endorse products and thereby inform their purchasing decisions. In fact, 82% of Gen Zers trust their family and friends over any other source when shopping, a phenomenon exacerbated by social media.
Another remarkable characteristic regarding Gen Z and consumerism is their attention to ethical consumption. 61% of Gen Zers reported that they’re willing to pay more if the product is made in a more sustainable way, while 68% also said that they expect brands to contribute to society. More than ever, what a brand does in their off-time matters to Gen Z. For example, Ben and Jerry’s commitment to Black Lives Matter increased sales, while Chick Fil A’s connections to anti-LGBTQ+ organizations led to a call to boycott the fast-food chain. In other words, Gen Z is more proactive in looking for unethical practices and won’t hesitate to look toward other brands if the brand’s values do not align with their own.
Similarly, Gen Z values diversity in a company. There are search engines made specifically to find big brand alternatives owned by BIPOC and 77% of Gen Z says that they feel more positively toward a brand when they promote equality on their social media channels. Beyond advertisements, Gen Z is also quick to call out a company if their executives and employees show a lack of diversity.
Overall, Gen Z is an internet-savvy and progressive generation that makes deliberations beyond product when purchasing. The key to understanding their consumer behavior lies in understanding social media, sustainability, and diversity across the brand.