There is a new retail sheriff in town, and she is mobile, connected, informed, medicated and wielding a $44 billion mobile wallet. Generation Z, ranging in age from 8-22 years old, makes up close to 26% of the US population, and by 2020, account for 1/3 of the US population. Not only are they a large group, they are extremely segmented, but not demographically as previous generations have been, causing advertisers to cringe at how to effectively reach them.
Marketers can no longer rely on demographics like age, gender, and race to target with their messaging. To reach Gen Z, marketers are going to have to focus on behaviors and interests as teens do not identify racially and sexually as their generational predecessors. In fact, 85% of Gen Z are less occupied with gender orientation and 77% think differently about race than their parents. Great for the US, not so much for Madison Ave.
While Gen Z is segmented and loves to have a personalized experience, one commonality is they all hang out at the same place…. mobile. As this article so beautifully states, Generation Z has learned to swipe before they wipe. Gen Z shoppers are twice as likely to convert on mobile, spend two hours a day on YouTube, and thanks to tons of information at their fingertips, most are well educated on consumer products. So informed in fact that teens are now helping make family purchase decisions. My 8-year-old already has a Top 5 cars he wants, with pricing, when he turns 16. He doesn’t have a favorite movie star, or sport personality, he looks up to Jake Paul and dudes that perform trick shots.
Traditional methods, channels, and demographics aren’t going to work moving forward, but if authentic, Gen Z will listen. They are smart. They want information. And, they are going to be carrying a big stick, so companies will have to figure them out.