In 2022 and beyond, Gen Z will continue to stretch its tentacles into the consumer marketplace and demand to be accounted for. Does your brand know how to reach these young people?
For the better part of a decade, all of the new marketing advice has been centered on reaching millennials. And while it’s still as important as ever to tap into this lucrative portion of the market, doing so exclusively is to ignore the larger picture.
In 2022 and beyond, Generation Z — the cohort that comes after millennials — will continue to stretch its tentacles into the consumer marketplace and demand to be accounted for. Does your brand know how to reach this young generation?
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z is the youngest, most ethnically-diverse and largest generation in American history, making up 27% of the U.S. population, according to Business Insider. And by 2026, the Gen Z consumer population in the United States — the people with spending power — will top 82 million.
In other words, Gen Z is a big deal. There are lots of them and they’re poised to have some major spending power. They’re also noisy, engaged and better connected than any generation before (including millennials). They influence more than $600 billion in family spending and thousands of new Gen Z members are entering the workforce every single day. This means spending power is also increasing by the hour.
Related: How Generation Z Is Altering the Face of Entrepreneurship for Good
How does Gen Z compare to millennials?
In terms of business and branding, the marketing department is responsible for helping companies reach this burgeoning group of young consumers. But in order to be successful, you have to know a bit more about what makes this group stand out.
One important distinction that has to be made is the fact that Gen Z is in fact different from the millennial generation. While there’s a lot of overlap, there are numerous factors and elements that set Gen Z apart from millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996). Here are some of the ways Gen Z is unique:
- Raised on mobile technology. Unlike millennials who spent large chunks of their childhood without smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices, most members of Gen Z have a hard time recalling a time when social media and smart technology weren’t parts of their lives. The fact that they’re raised on technology shapes the way they view the world.
- Values frugality more. For the most part, millennials grew up during the prosperity of the 1990s. Then as they were entering the workforce, the economy tanked and the job market collapsed. This has left millions of millennials with low-paying jobs and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debts.
- More realistic. If millennials are eternally optimistic, Gen Z is realistic to a fault. Even today’s high school students are worried about college affordability, entry-level job pay, healthcare, and other big-picture issues facing the nation. It’s embedded into their DNA.
- Side hustles over employment. Millennials grew up with summer jobs and part-time work in retail and fast food. They worked traditional jobs with rigid corporate structures. Gen Zs are much less likely to work at a young age. And if they do work, they’re typically involved in side hustles. Self-employment and entrepreneurship are alive and well with this young generation.
Related: 5 Ways That Gen Z Differs from Millennials That You Must Take Into Account When Promoting Your Business