What do we really know about Gen Z?
Much of what we know about Gen Z is based on statistics that we’ve heard tossed around for so long that we’ve accepted them as fact. One of these assumptions is that Gen Z expects to have an active voice in the creation of high quality, well-marketed products — and that they expect to get them on the cheap. We’re also told that Gen Z is made up of fickle consumers who are ever-ready to switch brands to get a better deal.
There are plenty of stats to lend credence to our fears. A recent study by the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 65 percent of Gen Z consumers expect to combine coupons, discounts and a rewards program to get the most traction on their dollars. Of the 98 percent of Gen Z that make their purchases in stores, 56 percent want the in-store experience to be so darn engaging that they’ll never get bored.
With all of this discourse floating around, it’s no wonder that so many retailers are terrified of the next generation. It seems nearly impossible to give these demanding young customers everything they expect in a brand or a product for a price that they’re willing to pay or to provide them with the interactive, uber-personalized in-store experience they’ve come to expect.
According to a 2015 research report from the International Research Association of Computer Science and Technology (IRACST), a customer’s age can have a huge impact on their individual buying behavior. This study found that age can reflect a customer’s propensity to engage in activities such as impulsive buying, which this particular study found to peak after 18 and decline after age 30. Individuals between 18 and 39 were also found to be more tech-oriented and brand aware.
Keep in mind that, as of now, we’re drawing conclusions from stats pulled from children. The youngest members of Generation Z are just turning five, most still live with their parents and many have no independent source of income outside of their allowance.
This leads us to the question: How much of what we think we know about Gen Z’s buying behavior as a generation is more indicative of limitations imposed by their age, such as financial constraints, the inability to drive themselves and restricted credit card access?
- Uniquely Gen Z – National Retail Federation
- Will Gen Z Demand a New Level of Collaboration? – RetailWire
- Impact of Age on Purchase Decision from Organized and Unorganized Retail Stores – A research Report In Indian Context – International Journal of Commerce, Business, and Management
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which assumptions about the buying characteristics of Gen Z do you expect to change as more of its members reach adulthood? Do you think Gen Z will still be exceedingly frugal and prefer to do most of their shopping in-store once they come of age?