Generation Z may not possess all of today’s purchasing power, but they’re already beginning to transform the modern buying landscape. This is especially true thanks to platforms like TikTok—where 13.3% of the 100 million monthly users are 19-24 years old—which has become the source for Gen Z members to learn about new brands and create amazing content about the ones they love.
As this vocal generation continues to grow their power, we fully expect they will continue to push brands and companies to readjust their thinking, beliefs, and practices.
Let’s explore why that is.
Diversity drives open-mindedness
According to Pew Research Center, Gen Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations—52% are non-Hispanic white, 25% are Hispanic, 14% are Black, 6% are Asian, and 5% are another race or two or more races.
Because so many Gen Z members have friends and family of a different racial or ethnic background, they welcome dialogue and accept differences of opinion. Many understand that others don’t share the same experiences, and thus can see the world differently.
In addition, technology has expanded their world view. As the always-connected generation, Gen Zers consume unprecedented amounts of information and constantly encounter influences from around the world. The first generation to be raised with a phone in their hand and taught to “Google it” or “ask Siri” from a young age, they seek out answers when they don’t understand and find it strange when others don’t actively seek the truth that is right at their fingertips.
The truth-seeking generation
Building on the premise that Gen Z members were born in an era of on-demand access, they expect immediate answers so they can continue to connect, consume, and learn.
A McKinsey study defined four core behaviors of Gen Z that correlate to the generation’s search for the truth in everything they do. Whether it’s mobilizing for a variety of causes or using dialogue to solve conflicts, Gen Zers have an analytical and pragmatic approach to making decisions.
65% of the Gen Zers in the McKinsey survey said they particularly value knowing what is going on around them and being in control.
As self-learners, Generation Z is comfortable learning online and engages heavily with fact-sharing content. For example, TikTok creators educated new voters within Gen Z about the issues and candidates they could vote on in the 2020 general election.
Gender fluidity and lack of labels
A generation that prides itself on individualization, Gen Zers rebel against stereotypes and see identity as an evolution that ebbs and flows as they grow and explore new passions.
7 out of 10 Gen Zers say it’s important to defend causes related to identity (McKinsey).
Perhaps due to their friends and family members having different backgrounds and experiences, Generation Z doesn’t want to be defined by stereotypes or labels that place them solely in one box.
The search for the truth translates into a search for authenticity, which offers a greater openness to understanding different kinds of people. Without confining stereotypes and labels, Gen Zers can live as their true selves, experimenting with different styles and expressions and shaping their identities over time.
Their impact on advertising
First, as you can probably guess, Gen Z doesn’t respond well to a one-size-fits-all approach. As advertising and marketing have begun to get more personalized, the next generation—with a huge influence on how consumers engage with brands—will demand more 1:1 experiences.
While Gen Z includes people of all types, it relies heavily on social shopping. Youth and culture agency Nerds partner Brett Booth explained that 73% of Gen Z regularly share an image or link with a friend before making a new purchase. Brands can easily leverage user-generated content to help share customers’ opinions on the products they offer, providing thumb-stopping commentary to entice purchases.
With immediate access to information, Gen Zers have a mindset that focuses on authenticity. These consumers seek out brands that align with their beliefs and back up actions as a business to support causes. Companies that speak up on these topics are more likely to be seen favorably by Gen Z members who want to spend their money with organizations that fight for the same things they do.
Finally, because of the importance Gen Z places on identity being unconfined, brands may want to consider genderless product design and marketing. Products traditionally associated with a specific gender can make consumers uncomfortable if they identify as the opposite gender. Both making inclusive, genderless products and including diversity in their messaging—for example, a skincare brand featuring both men and women in its marketing—could go a long way for brands looking to expand beyond one specific audience.
Learn how your brand can better engage Gen Z
If you’re looking to target Gen Z consumers and create a foundation for long-lasting relationships, our team of experienced strategists can help you understand how. With extensive knowledge in email strategy, paid media and search advertising, and social media marketing—not to mention our commerce practice—we’ve helped national and global brands test new tactics and grow their businesses.
Ready to talk to one of our experts? Contact us today.