The Greatest Generation, The Silent Generation, Generation X, Millennials. These are probably all age groups you know and understand. But what about the new kids on the block, Generation Z?
Born during the mid ’90s and early 2000s, Gen Zers make up the world’s fastest-growing demographic cohort. In fact, in the United States Gen Z has already dethroned Millennials and Baby Boomers as the country’s largest generation. With great size (75 million people) comes great buying power, which makes understanding Gen Z as a marketing audience a priority.
Gen Z at a glance
Unlike Millennials, who are often characterized as bold and entitled, Gen Zers are considered more cautious and community conscious. It makes sense when you realize this is the group that experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks, War on Terror, and Great Recession as children. According to Time Magazine, unlike Millennials, who grew up hearing, “You can be anything you want to be,” Gen Zers were told, “It’s hard out there, so work hard.”
Gen Z is also incredibly diverse in terms of age, gender identity, ethnicity and life stage, but the group shares some key behaviors and values. First, members of this group are all digital natives who grew up with Internet access at home and/or school. They view the digital experience as the human experience. Because of this they also have the greatest online presence when it comes to media consumption and engagement. Second, they are very health conscious in terms of self care and caring for the environment. The changing characteristics of this generation, like Millennials before them, can create marketing challenges for companies large and small.
Here are some tips on how to reach them:
A. Keep it digital. Gen Zers get almost all of their news and media in the digital sphere. It’s estimated they are online (mostly via smartphone) for at least 3.5 hours a day, and approximately one out of every five of those hours is spent on social media. And don’t forget: Video is King. The increasing popularity of video-based social media platforms, such as YouTube, has made video a more powerful marketing tool, especially among younger demographics.
B. Keep it short, sweet and user-friendly. The average Gen Zer’s attention span is estimated to be eight seconds. And because members of this group are digital natives, they expect the user experience to be frictionless—so make sure your tech is up-to-date and your design is intuitive.