Marketers intent on appealing to Generation Z, that is those aged between 16 to 23 for the uninitiated, could have their work cut out, as they appear to be completely opposite to the trend obsessed and gadget hungry masses.
According to Gen Z: Exile on Mainstream?, a study commissioned by the IPA’s Insight service and conducted by YouthSight, more than two-thirds of Gen Z consumers are uninterested in popular trends and only one in 10 would consider themselves a “trendsetter”.
One thing that Apple might not be too chuffed about is that it seems they also could not give a damn about owning the latest brands, while Facebook should take not that getting “likes” on social media is way down their agenda.
In an effort to get under the skin of the typical Gen Zer – and suggest ways that brands might engage with them – respondents were asked whether mainstream cultures and trends matter to them, and what they want from the world at large.
On a scale where 100 is the average, high-scoring findings included that Gen Z prioritises time spent with friends and family, with a rating of 171, while their mental well-being scored 168, followed by “having a job they enjoy” at 149.
At the lower-scoring end of the scale, the study found a degree of disdain for social media and some elements of consumerism.
Gaining a “high number of likes” on social media scored just eight, owning the “latest brands and products” scored just 10, while “being up to date with the latest trends” scored 15.
In light of growing up in political and economic uncertainty, they are focusing on building stability into their futures, with “saving for the future” given a rating of 130, and ‘Securing a job for life’ at 104, in terms of importance. Coupled with this, over a third (34%) prefer to plan ahead, rather than live day-by-day (12%).
However, the abundance of choice when it comes to brands and products appears to overwhelm Gen Z, with 60% feeling that too much on offer makes it harder to choose and 69% considering tailoring a product to them in the future.
Brands that provide convenience and tailored content therefore appeal most to them, including Netflix, Spotify, ASOS and Monzo, the report said.
Brands that presume a high level of homogeneity among Gen Z consumers might want to pay heed to the finding that just 4% like to “follow the crowd” and that most do not define themselves in terms of a single personality and instead identify with an array of identities, such as foodie, feminist and bookworm.
Meanwhile, Gen Z are principled and ethically motivated, with 64% claiming to be activists in some way and “standing up for what you believe in” scoring a high 115 rating. The top five issues of concern among this group are climate change (38%), mental health (29%), the gulf between the poor and the wealthy (19%), Brexit (19%) and the NHS (17%).
IPA head of insight Damian Lord said: “As the research reveals, Gen Z are complex, nuanced and at times contradictory. If we are to engage them, we must fully understand them and approach them based on their values. We hope this report facilitates this.”
The7stars head of insight and analytics Helen Rose, who contributed to the report, added: “With a view to 2020, Gen Z will have increasing influence on the way brands communicate and engage them as consumers. Three factors for brands to consider are: how to align with their core values, how to be an enabler for the stuff they care about and how to provide them with recognition for their contribution.”
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