Generation Z: All you need to know about the new spending force

Posted by Veronica Wainstein on January 19, 2017 at 7:00 AM

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Move over Millennials, Generation Z is set to take over.

The generation buzzword for the longest time has been the all-too familiar Millennial - you know the ones who are brash, narcissistic and entitled? Or so the cliché goes. But we cannot forget the new spending force, Generation Z, that’s about to take the world by storm. According to a very interesting article posted by The New York Times, Generation Z is set to be the “next retail disrupter”. What does this mean for marketers though?

What makes Generation Z so different?

  • The first and most significant differentiating factor is they don’t know what it’s like to live without the Internet, social media and smartphones.
  • Another interesting fact - especially for those trying to grow online databases - is they value their online privacy a lot more than Millennials because they are more aware of their personal online brands and do what they can to protect their reputations.  Some of them do not have Facebook accounts for this very reason and stick to secret, more anonymous platforms such as Snapchat or private Instagram accounts.
  • Generation Z has grown up learning about global warming and the threats human interference have posed to the Earth, and see themselves as the ones who need to clean up the world. They will very likely make safe choices in their careers but will also look to careers where they can enable and assist society.
  • They need to be experts. Gone are the days when kids want to get a job at a restaurant during their off-time, these kids want to start their own online businesses, they want to be flexible and they want to be in control. And that is exactly what they’ll be.

How does Generation Z communicate?

According to an article on How Generation Z works, people belonging to this generation would far rather text instead of having a face-to-face conversation. Single-topic conversations are virtually non-existent, instead multiple cross topic conversations occur frequently. This also speaks to the high frequency of multiple screens. According to AdWeek, “87% of consumers use more than one device at a time,” meaning picking up a cellphone during a TV advert, for example, is very common.

What we can gather from this is:

  • They want quick, simple messages.
  • They can consume a lot of information quickly, but lose interest just the same.
  • They want answers now, and they know where to get it. If they are unsure as to how something works, they Google it, if they can’t remember a special date, they’ll message the relevant person. If they need advice, they’ll ask a Whatsapp group. Speed trumps accuracy for Generation Z.

What does this mean for marketers?

Marketers need to sit up and take notice of this very special generation, and remember that the way they want to consume messages is different, as is their  world view and opinions on brands.

  • They are on a mission to save the world and your message can’t get in their way.
  • Marketers need to ensure that their messages are short and to the point, with a strong emphasis on how to help the consumer rather than the brand. Multimedia is essential - from images, to infographics, gifs and especially video.
  • The New York Times article further explains that same-sex marriage and multiracial families are not historical events to these people, but rather a way of life. Don’t harp on these events - treat them as commonplace.
  • They learn about technology and quickly. The first true digital natives are smart; they take in messages, digest, remember and move on. Know where they are getting their information from and then know how to use their technology or be the laughing stock.

In a nutshell, marketers need to learn to speak, breathe and eat like Generation Z in order to really reach them. This brand new breed of consumer and entrepreneur may still be in its teens and tweens, but it’s ready to take over the world.


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Topics: Marketing

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