Generation Z study – a challenge for retailers

More demanding, more global and focused on unique experiences. That is Generation Z. A generation that has grown up with social media. A study entitled “A Generation Without Borders – Generation Z Grows Up” by market research company OC&C Strategy Consultants shows that companies must try harder to win over this new consumer group. 

What makes Generation Z so special?

Gen Z includes anyone born after 1998. It now accounts for around 30 percent of the world’s population and will account for a third of all consumers in about a decade. But what makes this generation so unique? Members of this generation describe themselves as individual and demanding. It is important for them to reflect their individual position and opinions. Sustainability and ethical behaviour really matter to them. Consequently, they actively factor these key elements into their purchasing decisions.

The influence of social media

This new consumer group is strongly influenced by social media when it comes to brand and product selection. Unlike other generational groups, members of Gen Z use new channels to discover brands. For example, they find out about trends through online product reviews, influencers, social media and online advertising. They are active online and attach great importance to recommendations from others. Fashion retailer AboutYou is one of Europe’s fastest-growing e-commerce companies. This newcomer gets how to offer customers a unique online shopping experience. Influencers serve as a source of inspiration and make for an unforgettable digital shopping trip. Customers can shop the styles of their fashion idols there. Purelei is another rising star on the fashion scene. The jewellery retailer stands out thanks to the very individual and personal way in which it engages its customers, combined with influencer marketing. But perhaps one of the most important characteristics of members of Generation Z is that they don’t simply go online, they live online. The online market has also adapted to this. Social media, for example, is becoming a sales channel that is being used to target customers directly. Companies can use the “Instagram shopping” feature to link their social media channel directly to their online shop. If a customer is interested in a tagged product, they need simply swipe up to be taken directly to the product in the online shop. It is becoming easier and easier for customers to buy and the opportunities for retailers to make a profit online are increasing.

Influencers – today’s idols

Why are influencers so popular? Influencers seem approachable and trustworthy and let us participate in their lives. That is why more and more companies are trying influencer marketing for themselves. 

Products don’t make us happy – experiences do

According to the OC&C study, nearly one-fifth of the Gen Z members surveyed around the world say that they prefer to spend money on experiences rather than products. The preference for experiences is rising and consumer behaviour is moving in the direction of experience-oriented consumption.

How to create a unique brand experience for tomorrow’s customers 

Companies that adapt to the behaviour and expectations of the Gen Z group are already preparing themselves for what will be their largest consumer group in 2030. It is crucial that they act in an ethical way and set an example socially as well as actively engage in social projects. By creating a unique story behind their brand and product, they can succeed in appealing emotionally to and inspiring tomorrow’s customers. A “mobile first” approach is fundamental to this. Companies that get influencers on board who will strongly push products and actively recommend them have even more chances of success.

More detailed information on Generation Z can be found in the study entitled “A Generation without Borders – Generation Z Grows Up” from market research company OC&C Strategy Consultants.

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