08.08.2023 | by Lili
Dividing the general subject of research into categories is a helpful tool for scientists to discover certain characteristics and behavioural patterns. This is true for social studies as well - hence the ubiquitous generation names like Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z you may have come across in the media.
Although they originate from the Western world (more specifically the US), by the 21st century their use has spread across the globe.
The terms we most often see today are Baby Boomers (born between 1946-64), Generation X (1965-76), Millennials (1977-1995), Generation Z (1996-2010) and Generation Alpha (2010-). Each generation is more-or-less defined by common experiences and conditions they encountered in their lives.
This means that Millennials are the first generation that experienced the digital revolution and e-Commerce in their youth. However, it’s Gen Z that was actually born into it. This is why they’re often called the first digital native generation.
A work desk bearing laptops and other electronic devices
Currently, Millennials have the largest purchasing power amongst all the generations. Their spending power amounts to $2.5 trillion, which corresponds to a daily spending of $208.77. In contrast, Gen X spending varies between $189.13-$202.48 while Gen Z spends an average of $92.13.
But not for long.
According to a report by the Bank of America, Gen Z’s income is supposed to surpass that of Millennials by 2031. Which means that brands and marketers have a very short time to get accustomed to the specific characteristics, the likes and dislikes of the younger generation.
Although defining a group of people by any shared characteristics inevitably gives way to generalisations and oversimplifications, it’s a useful tool for scientists (and brands) to understand the motivations and behaviour of the group.
In general, Gen Z members seem to be more mindful of social and economic issues that characterise their world. They respect all forms of diversity and strive to live in a more diverse community. They appreciate flexibility and teamwork. Gen Zers are more likely to be politically active and take bold steps to fight inherited issues like racial inequalities and climate change.
Young people at a rally against climate change
Due to different birth rates in various parts of the world, the overwhelming majority of Gen Z (9 out of 10 people) lives in emerging countries. India in particular holds one fifth of the entire Gen Z population in the world. Thanks to rapid technological development and improving literacy rates, Indian youth is a force to be reckoned with. As is Gen Z from other emerging markets like Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines.
How does all that translate to e-Commerce?
Since Gen Z grew up with electronic devices and the internet at their fingertips, it’s easy to see why this generation finds it natural to conduct a significant part of their lives online. Which means that online shopping is as normal for them, if not more so, than walking into a physical store to purchase something.
When looking at a product, Gen Z seems to value quality over price and take other characteristics into consideration as well, like sustainability and fair trade. 44% of Gen Z consumers are omnichannel shoppers, meaning that a well-rounded online and physical presence can translate to a big win for brands.
As every target audience, Gen Z has certain defining specifics that can assist your brand in choosing elements for your marketing strategy.
The overwhelming majority, 85% of Gen Z consumers, claim that social media influences their purchase decisions. TikTok and Instagram are the most influential platforms with 45% of Gen Zers choosing them, closely followed by YouTube (38%), Facebook (24%), Snapchat (17%), Twitter (14%) and Reddit (7%).
Emerging brands like E.l.f cosmetics and Fenty Beauty purposefully use social media and influencer marketing to reach their Gen Z target audience. However, older, more established brands are also widening their marketing horizons to draw young people to their audience.
For example, well-known cosmetics brand Maybelline has recently created May, its first metaverse avatar to attract young consumers.
Still image of Maybelline’s ad featuring May on the right and real-life model Gigi Hadid on the left https://xsmultimedia.com/2023/03/08/maybelline-introduces-its-first-ever-avatar-in-a-new-global-campaign/
By the way, the popularity of social commerce is not restricted to Gen Z. In fact, social commerce is on the rise across all generations and countries, which means that leveraging its power for your brand would make sense even if you don’t market to young people alone.
A seamless shopping experience is becoming increasingly important for online shoppers in general, and Gen Z consumers in particular. 46% of the youngest economically active generation (as Gen Alphas are still too young for it) feel that a fast and simple checkout process is a must for a good shopping experience.
Fast shipping (45%) and immediate store availability (39%) are the next most important features brands need to accomplish in order to win over Gen Zers. This latter is especially interesting in light of the above mentioned fact that 44% of Gen Z consumers are omnichannel shoppers. In short, if you want your brand to succeed amongst Gen Zers, omnichannel is a great way to establish yourself.
Gen Z is the first generation that grows up with tangible effects of climate change in the Western world. No wonder that the feeling of climate anxiety is the most serious in young people, and that Gen Zers are willing to take real action against it. Correspondingly, the importance of sustainability is quite high when it comes to choosing a brand.
66% of Gen Z consumers are happy to pay more for a sustainably created product, opening the door for brands with eco-consciousness high on their agendas. All the more important, since 72% of this very same age group think that businesses should be held accountable for their impact on the environment.
As we mentioned before, a new generation of educated, well-to-do consumers is appearing in India, Thailand, the Philippines and other parts of the world. Brands traditionally focusing on Western countries could find surprising opportunities in these emerging markets.
You can dip your toes in the water by entering a local online marketplace or by trying to offer your products via a local webshop. But remember, however large or small you make your new market entry, thorough research is always the way to prepare for success.
Although technically not a new market in the physical sense of the word, the metaverse is certainly a “place” teeming with opportunities for brands to encounter Gen Z consumers.
Maybelline’s metaverse avatar shows us that older and well-established brands are ready to take the plunge and embrace the potentials of this innovative space. With 55% of Gen Zers online for at least four hours a day and a rising preference for engaging, interactive connections online, it seems that taking up shop on the metaverse may indeed make a lot of sense for brands targeting this generation.
While the driving force behind Gen Z seems to be the fight for a more equal society and a better protected environment, their attitude to buying fake products is a bit more forgiving. In fact, a recent EUIPO survey pointed out that 50% of Gen Z respondents would knowingly buy counterfeits if the price of the original product was too high.
This means that your brand can’t expect your Gen Z target audience to simply ignore temptingly priced offers and do the right thing. Just like when targeting any other generation, you have to have an online brand protection programme in place.
However, keeping in mind the different shopping attitudes of Gen Z, you may have to adjust your strategy to cover all the outlets young people flock to for shopping.
Luckily, we at globaleyez already have all the services in place to cover any IP protection needs of your brand. For example, our social media monitoring service is perfect for detecting any infringing content (including ads, pics, posts and product listings) on Gen Z’s favourite social platforms.
Our marketplace monitoring service does the same on over 150 online marketplaces online, while marketplace sales tracking provides you with extensive data and analysis about bestselling products and sales volumes achieved by different sellers. This comes in extra handy when you’re considering entering a new market!
We’re no strangers to the metaverse either. We’ve already launched successful monitoring and takedown sessions on this innovative space and are ready to tackle whatever IP-related challenges Gen Z’s shopping habits may throw our way.
A generational shift is upon us when in about half a decade, Gen Zers will take over from Millennials as the most economically powerful age group. Get ready for the change in time and set up a comprehensive online brand protection programme to avoid any unpleasant surprises.