Generation Z: What Marketers Need to Know

Generation Z is the largest growing population in the United States, making up about 25% of the entire population and they are growing every day with 361,000 births per day in the US. (Spark and Honey). Now that’s something for marketers to pay attention to.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z comes after Generation Y (aka: millennials), which you have likely heard quite a bit about. Millennials are the most researched generation in human history! Generation Z is the new Generation Y in the aspects that research is needed, data is being collected and trends are changing due to the growing group. To be more specific, they are known to be born in the year range of 1995-present who are currently under the age of 18 (Sparks and Honey).

Here are some interesting things that marketers should know about Generation Z.

They Influence Household Purchases 
Maybe those ads on television geared toward children are working. In particular, moms feel that their Gen Z child is influential when purchasing items such as toys, apparel, tonight’s dinner, entertainment and more! That isn’t surprising given the fact that many of those are for the child themselves. What might be surprising is that Gen Z also influences the purchases their parents make on things such as computers, home furnishings, and even the family car. Things that make you go hmmm. 

They Prefer to Shop Online for Almost EVERYTHING
Teenagers shop for many things: clothes, online/offline games, books, electronics and more. Many of Generation Z prefer to shop online for those items in particular. While mobile shopping has been growing for years, it’s particularly important to the new generation with 2 in 3 teens already making purchases online (Think with Google). Maybe it’s the best way to reach Generation Z while they shop online?

They Want to Have an Impact on the World and Entrepreneurship is in Their DNA
Generation Z is unique considering that 60% of them have reported that they want to make an impact on the world with the job that they do, compared to only 39% of Millennials (Sparks and Honey). Not only are they volunteering but they are innovators of the next thing, contributing to making an impact on the world through entrepreneurship. A whopping 73% of high school students want to start a business someday.

They Thirst for Knowledge 
1 in 2 Generation Zers will be University educated and they are learning in more places than just the 4 four walls of a classroom at your local institution. They are gaining knowledge and becoming educated by conducting online secondary research, reading textbooks digitally, taking courses online and collaborating with their classmates for group projects online too. For them, education and the journey to gaining knowledge doesn’t stop when they walk off campus.

Their Attention Spans are Short 
The average attention span is 8 second! That’s down from 12 seconds in 2000 (Sparks and Honey). Yikes! You better be able to get and keep their attention marketers. Having a short attention span doesn’t have to be negative, as this means that they are likely able to process information faster. It’s up to you.. is it a good or bad thing?

They Care About the Environment and Man’s Impact
Generation Z is hyper-aware of issues that are going on in the world. 80% know about man’s impact on the planet, 78% are concerned about world hunger and 77% are concerned about children around the world dying of preventable diseases (Sparks and Honey). With social entrepreneurship and businesses doing social good growing, this could be something that marketers integrate genuinely into marketing communication with Generation Z. Maybe you, as a marketer can encourage them to take action on what they are already concerned about?

They Like Things that Have a “Cool” Factor
Cookie cutter products and communications will not work with Gen Z. They want unique, interesting, impressive and “cool” things!

What’s “Cool” to them? A product is cool if their friends are talking about it, if they see an ad about it or if it’s personalized to them (Think with Google). Are you personalizing your communication with Generation Z? It might be time too!

There’s More Known and More to Know

Generation Z is fascinating. I have covered just a small portion of the information I’ve read and researched on them. I encourage you to download the reports from Sparks and Honey and Think with Google to see what interesting things you find out!

Generation Z is growing by the day (literally) so you can’t just ignore them. You can’t just skip this generation. It’s time to focus marketing efforts toward them (or at least understand them more).

Rebekah A. Dull, BA
Digital Strategist
Consulting | Marketing | Websites

Sparks and Honey “Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You’ve Learn About Millennials”

Think with Google “Generation Z: New Insights Into the Mobile-First Mindset”