10 Things Your Business Should Know About Marketing to Gen Z

Gen Z using iphone

Generation Z, also known as ‘Gen Z’ or ‘Zoomers’ are consumers born after 1996 encompassing all from ‘tweenagers’ to people in their mid-20s. They are native technology users, and the first generation for whom smartphone use is a mainstay of their adulthood. Cost, ethics and sustainability are also all top priorities for this generation.

Here are 10 Gen Z marketing facts that should inform your company’s marketing strategy.

1. Most Gen Z consumers are cost-conscious

Having grown up in an era of austerity and adverse economics, thrift is understandably a key component of Gen Z consumer behaviour. Indeed, 2022 data by Statista demonstrates that almost 60% of Gen Z consumers in the UK feel that price is the biggest deciding factor when making a purchase. This makes it this generation’s biggest consideration when approaching the checkout.

2. They care about sustainability and are willing to pay a premium for it

While this is a thrifty generation, Gen Z’s purchasing behaviour is not driven solely by cost. This generation also cares deeply about the ethics and sustainability of the products they buy. According to YouGov’s ‘Meet The Future’ report, Gen Z consumers are 1.4 times more likely to pay a little more for products that are more eco-friendly while 45% of Gen Z consumers are planning to prioritise sustainability over price.

3. Gen Z prefers to buy direct from brands

A major factor differentiating Gen Z shoppers from older generations is that they prefer to cut out the middleman and shop directly from brands themselves, giving businesses a reason to be present through an online store or on social media platforms. That said, while they build personal relationships with brands, they also hold these brands to very high standards.

Gen Z are known to favour eco-friendly products from sustainable brands, and, as consumers, they’re more likely to abandon a purchase from brands that don’t meet their ethical standards. One in three Gen Z consumers have abandoned a brand in the last 12 months based on that company’s reputation for sustainability and ethics.

4. Over 70% of Gen Z consumers prefer tailored online experiences

As the first generation to have spent all of their adult lives with a smartphone in their hand, it goes without saying that Gen Z marketing and sales should encompass mobile experiences. But this is another area in which this generation is extremely discerning. Not only do they expect speed, immediacy and convenience, but they also expect a degree of personalisation with tailored online experiences facilitating a frictionless user experience.

YouGov reveals that 71% of Gen Z consumers prefer a tailored online experience. 53% stated a preference for optimised mobile websites and apps, while 46% stated that they preferred when brands remembered their shopping preferences.

5. Physical stores should offer an experience

Generation Z may be digitally native, but that doesn’t mean that they eschew brick-and-mortar retail. Nonetheless, research by Retail Week confirms that they are extremely experience-orientated consumers. 38% of Gen Z consumers browse items in-store as well as online, and a compelling in-store experience can turn window shoppers into paying customers.

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6. Social commerce should be at the heart of your Gen Z marketing strategy

Using social media is as instinctive to many Gen Z consumers as breathing. Approximately 88% of Gen Z use at least one social media platform multiple times a day. YouGov data shows that brand perception improves by 42% when brands use Instagram.

This creates a wealth of opportunities for social commerce, selling directly to consumers on the social platforms that they routinely use.

7. Reviews, incentives, and return policies drive their purchasing decisions.

Gen Z are motivated by environmentally-minded and socially-responsible brands, and won’t hesitate to abandon a purchase that is too expensive, too slow, or too difficult at checkout. But like generations before them, they too care about sales, reviews, and ease of purchasing and returning, and they’re often loyal to brands that meet these criteria.

The top reasons that Gen Z shoppers abandoned a purchase in the last 12 months were due to delivery being too slow or expensive, no discount or sale being offered, a lack of product reviews, or poor return options.

What keeps Gen Z loyal to a brand? Shoppers said offering good discounts and sales, allowing online purchases to be returned in-store, and offering both online and offline stores keeps them coming back.

8. Influencer marketing is less compelling for Gen Z than you’d think

Given Gen Z’s propensity for social media use, brands could be forgiven for assuming that social influencers should be a key component in their Gen Z marketing strategy. But the truth is that social proof is more important to this generation than influencers. A 2022 report by international digital consumer research firm, Bulbshare shows that 84% of Gen Z consumers have lost faith in social media influencers. They are, however, strongly motivated by word of mouth, with 86% more likely to buy a product recommended by a friend than a social media influencer.

9. Gen Z are feeling the pinch more than other generations

The cost of living crisis in the UK has affected Gen Z and millennials most severely, with spending on discretionary goods in early 2023 flat or negative for 18 to 29-year-olds compared with the previous year.

That’s not to say that this generation can’t be tempted. However, flexible payment options and the ability to defer payment might be attractive options for the temporarily cash-strapped.

10. Omnichannel strategy is the key to success

Whether they’re making a purchase online, in-store, or on social channels, omnichannel retail options are necessary for reaching Gen Z. It’s essential for businesses and brands to be present where Gen Z is shopping and to offer them options when they get there — whether that means keeping up with trends or offering new payment options.

More than half of Gen Z shoppers have used voice shopping on platforms like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant in the last 12 months, and one in five Gen Z shoppers have abandoned a purchase because a business didn’t offer their preferred payment method — which for almost 60% of Gen Z consumers is buy now, pay later.

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