This is What They Want
GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
Gen-Z is not your typical generation. By the way, neither was the Millennial generation … or Gen-X, etc. Each new generation has interesting differences, desires, likes and dislikes. Each generation poses its own problems and opportunities, depending on how you view the challenge. A recent report created by Gongos (part of InSites Consulting) shared some interesting information relevant to companies that do business with Gen-Z.
Gongos surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers and compared Gen-Z to older generations. Gen-Z’s were born between 1997 and 2011, and their habits, views and behaviors are quite different than the older Gen-X and Baby Boomers. The oldest Gen-Z’s are about 24 years old, and they are quickly becoming an important consumer group that will change the way brands market and sell. Here are some of the findings, followed by my commentary and additional stats and facts.
Gen-Z Wants Brands to Challenge Social Issues – Forty-three percent of Gen-Z appreciates brands that take a stand, especially in the areas of sustainability, inclusiveness and racial transparency. And they put their money where their mouth is:
- 69% will pay more if employees and suppliers are treated fairly.
- 66% will pay more if the brand tries to have a positive impact on society.
- 61% will pay more if the brands use inclusive practices.
- 60% will pay more for a business that practices sustainability.
Gen-Z Loves Personalization – For all of the marketers reading this article, note that Gen-Z will pay for personalization—not always with money, but instead with their personal data. They aren’t nearly as protective of their personal data as Gen-X and Baby Boomers. Gen-Z pays more attention to brands that create a personalized experience or allow them to create a custom product. Consider the shoe manufacturer that lets its customers design their own shoes. Or the cosmetic company that allows its customers to create their own formulas. Offer them a personalized experience, and they will go out of their way to do business with you. More stats to consider:
- 50% pay attention to brands that offer personalization and co-creation.
- 52% look for brands that understand them.
- 51% allow brands to create products that reflect their identity.
Gen-Z Fights Injustice Through “Click-Tivism” – Social media has made it easy for anyone to have a megaphone that is heard by the world. Older generations (Boomers) might protest with sit-ins and picket signs. The younger generation has embraced social media as the place to call attention to what is important to them. “Gen-Z is clicking for change.”
- 29% follow social media accounts on social justice.
- 26% use social media to voice their opinions.
- 15% participate in online protests.
Gen-Z Fights for Social Inequality – Gen-Z is, according to the study, the most ethnically diverse generation in history. Diversity and inclusion are not just hot topics in the HR department, but some of the hottest topics for this younger generation.
- 59% consider racial and ethnic diversity as beneficial for society.
- 48% consider racism a top global issue.
- 49% recognize that gender identity can change over time.
- 48% know someone who prefers to be addressed with gender-neutral pronouns (they, them, their, etc.)
Gen-Z Engages in Metaverse Activities – Many people still don’t understand the metaverse, which is blending the physical and digital worlds we live in. According to the study, “No generation will embrace and shape the metaverse more than Gen-Z.” Eighty-three percent of Gen-Z engages in metaverse activities. They hang out with friends in virtual worlds and spend money on virtual merchandise. They also are looking for brands that are “seamlessly integrating the online and offline worlds.” If you do not understand the opportunities the metaverse is offering Gen-Z (and other generations), you might find yourself playing catch-up with a competitor who does. Some metaverse findings:
- 48% participate in online gaming.
- 29% created an avatar to use on the metaverse.
- 20% have paid for digital products.
There are approximately 65 million Gen-Z’s in the U.S., which accounts for almost 20% of the U.S. population. These are your up-and-coming consumers and financial decision-makers. They have expectations that are quite different than older generations. While many of today’s Gen-Z’s are still very young (as young as 11 years old), don’t think they aren’t making a major impact on companies’ current and future plans. The customer experience will have to change to reflect the values of Gen-Z. Their opinions and habits are going to cross over to older generations, especially with their parents, who support this young generation’s ideals. Are you ready for a new generation’s expectations? If not, it’s not too late to start to change.
Image Credit: Shep Hyken
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