When some business experts, bloggers, and journalists write about Gen Z entering adulthood, it sounds like they're talking about an incoming natural disaster.
Headlines like, "Gen Z is Coming, Are You Ready," or "Prepare You Marketing to Survive the Gen Z Invasion" are circulating around the internet, but do marketers really need to make extreme preparations and start drastically changing their strategies to woo this age group?
The truth is -- kind of.
By now, you probably know that Gen Z is the most hyper-connected generation. This means that by the time they all reach purchasing age, digital, online, and mobile-first marketing will be vital to your strategy. However, Gen Z still has some striking similarities to the generations that came before it.
As a marketer, and the millennial older sister of a Gen Z sibling, I see both similarities and differences between my sister and me daily. While we were raised in pretty different time periods and can't possibly be considered "the same," we still have a lot in common.
For example, we both love social media, care about our finances, and have very high standards of the products we buy. However, the ways we use social media, handle our finances, and purchase products are still slightly different.
If you're interested in testing out new marketing strategies that target young adults, you'll likely want to learn as much as you can about Generation Z, and what makes them different from past generations -- as they'll soon reach full purchasing power.
Even if you've successfully marketed to younger millennials in the past, you'll still want to prepare yourself for Gen Z by learning more about the nuances that make them unique. Through this research, you'll also be able to identify successful millennial marketing strategies that could still work on Gen Z. This will help you better scale your strategies to fit Gen Z, rather than completely reshaping your tactics in costly ways.
To help you build a buyer persona for potential Gen Z customers, I've compiled a list of stats that highlight Gen Z's unique qualities, behaviors, and motivations.
52 Gen Z Stats to Know in 2021
- In 2019, Gen Z outnumbered millennials, making up 32% of the world's 7.7 billion-person population. (Bloomberg)
- Gen Z members that still live with their parents receive an average allowance of $16.90 per week. (LinkedIn)
- The generation has an estimated purchasing power of 44 billion annually. (LinkedIn)
- 48% of Gen Z identifies as racially or ethnically diverse. (Pew Research Center)
- As of 2020, Gen Z makes up more than 40% of U.S. consumers. (Fast Company)
- More than 74% of Gen Z says they spend their free time online. (Insititute of Business Management)
- 66% of Gen Z reports using more than one internet-connected device at a time. (Institute of Business Management)
- In the U.K., Gen Z spends an average of 10.6 hours online each day. (Adobe)
- Roughly 75% of Gen Z most frequently uses a smartphone over computers and other devices. (Institute of Business Management)
- Most Gen Zers (73%) use their internet-connected devices to communicate with friends or family. Meanwhile, 59% and 58% also use them for entertainment and gaming respectively. (Institute of Business Management)
Source: Institute of Business Management
- Gen Z spends an average of 11 hours on their mobile devices per week. (Criteo)
- Gen Z streams video for roughly 23 hours each week. (Criteo)
- Roughly 71% of Gen Z teens use mobile devices to watch videos, while 51% use mobile for social media surfing. (Think with Google)
Source: Think with Google
- Over 32% of Gen Z transactions take place on a mobile device. (Criteo)
- More than 71% of Gen Z subscribes to Netflix. (Defy Media Study published by Variety)
- Only 45% of Gen Z watches cable. (Vision Critical)
- 60% of Gen Z will not use an app or website that loads too slowly. (Institute of Business Management)
- Gen Z is gaining interest in interactive and "Choose your own adventure" content, with 55% saying they'd like to be able to choose the plotline of the movie or TV show they're streaming. (Cognizant)
- 60% of Gen Z says they're likely to use VR as it becomes more abundant in the future. (Cognizant)
- When VR is more common, 52% of the generation expects to use it for online entertainment such as videos or gaming. (Cognizant)
- 56% of teens use social media apps to express themselves creatively. (Snapchat)
- 55% of Gen Z says they can be more creative on social apps and the internet than offline. (Snapchat)
- Gen Z logs on to social media for roughly two hours and 55 minutes each day. This is almost an hour longer than the average millennial. (World Economic Forum)
- 62% of Gen Z checks Instagram, while 60% visit YouTube, daily. (Business Insider)
- Snapchat is also popular among Gen Z, as 90% of 13-24-year-olds in the U.S. have used the app. (Snapchat)
- Although 81% of teens say social media helps them feel more connected to their friends, 45% still say they feel overwhelmed by "drama" associated with it. (Pew Research Center)
- 43% of teens feel pressure to only post content that makes them "look good" to their friends. (Pew Research Center)
- 88% of Gen Z prefers omnichannel branded experiences, while 54% say social media influences them most. (CMO Council)
- 41% of Gen Z men use Twitch, a video platform primarily used to stream video games. (Morning Consult)
- More than 76% of Gen Z says they follow an influencer on social media. (Morning Consult)
- One in four Gen Z women says they learn about new products from social media influencers. (Morning Consult)
Source: Business Insider
Behaviors and Preferences
- On average, Gen Z will pay attention to content for a span of eight seconds -- four less than millennials. (VisionCritical)
- When shopping online or in stores, 65% of Gen Z prefers to see as few items as possible out of stock. (Institute of Business Management)
- 66% say that the high quality of a product matters most to them when making a purchase. (Institute of Business Management)
- Roughly 65% of the generation sees value in coupons, discounts, and rewards programs. (Institute of Business Management)
- 51% of Gen Z agrees that they are more creative than previous generations. (Snapchat)
- 77% of Gen Z reports doing creative activities, such as painting when offline. Meanwhile, 48% say they regularly do creative activities, like meme creation, when online. (Snapchat)
- Despite their connection to social media, 51% of Gen Z prefers to communicate with coworkers, friends, and family face-to-face rather than through messaging. (2019 Yellow Recruiting Study)
- Over 70% of Gen Zers say they're able to influence family decisions, such as purchases. (Institute of Business Management)
- Less than 30% of Gen Z will share personal data, such as health, wellness, location, or payment information, online. (Institute of Business Management)
- 69% of Gen Z finds online ads disruptive. (Vision Critical)
- One of the top factors that draw Gen Z's attention to items is an aesthetically pleasing product shot. (Vision Critical)
- In 2018, roughly 10% of Gen Z was saving for college. (National Society of High School Scholars)
- 35% of Gen Z students expect at least one job offer by the time they graduate from college. (2019 Yello Recruiting Study)
- 59% of Gen Z will learn new skills if they result in higher pay. (LinkedIn)
- Although Gen Z is career-motivated, only 49% counter job offers, while 70% of millennials will negotiate higher salaries. (2019 Yellow Recruiting Study)
- Nearly a quarter of Gen Z college students start their job search before their junior year. (2019 Yello Recruiting Study)
Source: 2019 Yellow Recruiting Study
Political and Societal Views
While political or societal views don't directly impact purchases, knowing how a generation views certain topics could help you improve your level of inclusive marketing, identify opportunities for campaign topics, or develop products that relate to a pain point or cause that an age group cares about. Here are a few interesting stats to note:
- 70% of Gen Z says that financial responsibilities should be shared equally in two-parent households. (Pew Research Center)
- While 76% of Gen Z women say that more females presidential candidates are a "good thing," only 54% of Gen Z men agree. (Pew Research Center)
- When a form requires a person to select a gender, 59% of Gen Z thinks that the form should include an "Other" option. (Pew Research Center)
- Half of Gen Z says society isn't accepting enough to people who don't identify as men or women. (Pew Research Center)
- Despite Gen Z's connection to technology and social media, more people in the age group report feeling lonely than previous generations (Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index)
Preparing for Gen Z
While you don't have to change your whole digital strategy just yet, you'll definitely want to experiment with new ways to up your game and reach younger generations on online or mobile platforms. If you market to young adults specifically, you should be sure to take note of key Gen Z behaviors in order to cater your campaigns to them in the future. Here are a few pointers to get you started:
- Audit your digital strategy, and see if you're missing out on any Gen Z-friendly platforms.
- Embrace video marketing, especially for mobile devices.
- Make sure your campaigns effectively show how your product provides value.
- Consider offering discounts, rewards, freemiums, and sales to instantly gratify customers that might be hesitant to pay for your product.
- Keep track of emerging media strategies and tools incase they become accessible to your marketing team later on.
Aside from learning more about your customer, and developing a buyer persona, you should also note the key differences that Gen Z does have from other generations and avoid lumping this generation in the same demographic as millennials.
To learn more about what makes Gen Z so different from its previous generation, check out this comparison on millennials versus Gen Z.
Originally published Feb 3, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated June 10 2021