Appealing to younger consumers is as important as ever for businesses, especially given the fact that 40% of global consumers today are Gen Zers. As a result, companies hoping to appeal to this demographic will have to follow Gen Z’s lead — and in this landscape, Gen Z consumers are allocating their time, attention, and money towards brands and personalities who are using their platforms to drive real, palpable change.
Gen Zer’s operate within their own digital ecosystem, outside of many mainstream influences. In the words of columnist and author Chloe Combi, “Gen Z is the first generation who create what they consume and consume what they create”. They are more likely to watch their friends’ YouTube channels or IG Live than tune in to traditional TV shows. Similarly, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok have proven to be the go-to source of both information and entertainment as opposed to legacy media organizations and newspapers.
For Gen Z, an increasing amount of consumption is taking place inside the home, a trend that was already on the rise pre-Coronavirus. JOMO is the new FOMO — staying in is in. Giving people an unvarnished look into their own lives, Gen Zers are radically transparent, and in stark contrast with the glam of the Instagram era, new bedroom influencers are self-described homebodies who proudly boast of their anti-social credentials. Moreover, brands are increasingly focusing their collections on home comforts. For example, Australian sportswear brand The Iconic is teaming up with the entertainment streaming platform Binge to introduce a new line called Inactivewear. From CBD-infused bath bombs to elaborate TikTok dance routines, the home has become Gen Z’s ultimate playground.
The political, economic, health and societal impacts of the events of 2020 will leave a lasting effect on Gen Z:
- Early Career Changes: Recent graduates have seen their job offers rescinded or put on hold, or may have not received any. Many young workers may have lost their first real jobs. Workers under the age of 25 experienced a 93% higher rate of layoffs during the pandemic than those over 35 years old.
- Gap Year / Community College: College students are now looking toward a fall semester that may not even have in-person classes. Some students are increasingly hesitant to pay full tuition for online classes, leading a number of students to think about whether or not to take a gap year. Some students are instead opting for a lower-priced state or community college.
- Bright Side for Younger Gen Zers: At the same time though, there are some upsides. For instance, companies, schools and governments are rapidly trying to change the way they operate, shifting business, educational and policies, which Gen Zers will be the beneficiaries of.
All in all, 2020 is a watershed moment for Gen Z. The events that have transpired will undoubtedly impact Gen Zers decisions on nearly every aspect of life. From where they live, to their views on government and authority, to what brands they support to the type of company they would go to work for, 2020 will have a lasting impact on Gen Z for decades, if not generations to come.