Seven ways Gen Z is different that don’t include tech
Bryan Pearson, president and CEO, LoyaltyOne
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from COLLOQUY, provider of loyalty-marketing publishing, education and research since 1990. This article was originally posted on Forbes.
Members of Generation Z are frequently identified as the first digital natives. But there is more to this financially sensitive, ethnically diverse group than mobile devices and Instagram. Here are seven descriptors for the generation that do not include “digital.”
- Diverse. Roughly half of the Generation Z population is nonwhite — 22 percent is Hispanic and 15 percent is non-Hispanic blacks, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These young consumers are more familiar with and open to different cultures and customs, translating to fewer barriers to purchase (including among Caucasian consumers).
- Savers. Perhaps the 2008 recession slapped the frivolity out of them, because members of Gen Z tend to be more financially conservative and risk-averse, meaning they are less willing to take on major debt. Retailers, think interest-free layaway.
- Bargain-hunters. Savers also tend to be cautious spenders. Roughly 55 percent of the Gen Z population is increasing the amount of time spent in dollar stores and mass merchandisers, according to research by the global consulting group WSL Strategic Retail.
- Commute-averse. Neighborhoods and their shopping options mean less to Gen Zers than does the work commute, finds the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017. Retailers should increasingly cross-analyze the spending power of employment hubs to residential communities.
- Vegan. The younger generation’s preference for animal-free goods likely extends to non-food products, such as pet-safe household goods and non-leather apparel. It may be worth testing animal-friendly aisles or departments.
- Mall-agnostic. Of shoppers ages 18 to 29, which includes a large segment of Gen Z, 35 percent shop at malls less now than they did five years ago, but 45 percent shop them more, according to a January survey by Morning Consult. That’s a promising finding, given that older adults roundly say they are shopping malls less often.
- Loyal-ready. Just 30 percent of Gen Zers say a loyalty program makes a store special to them, according to Ernst & Young. Members-only events were also found to be less appealing to them versus Millennials, while free delivery was slightly more important. Practical perks appeal to this generation.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What aspects of Gen Z shopper behavior may marketers be missing with the spotlight largely aimed at their digital savviness? Of the traits mentioned, which demand the greatest adjustments from retailers?