World War Z: Moving on from Millennials

Responsive image

World War Z: Moving on from Millennials

Okay, so the title is a bit of a stretch. Millennials are still the most sought after demographic, with $200 billion in annual spending power and a penchant for intense brand loyalty. But, as the sun begins to set on the Boomer generation, it rises on a new group of consumers for the world’s brands to clamor over. Dubbed by MTV as the “Founders,” the perceived values of Gen Z aren’t as close to Millennials as we may imagine.

The Basics:

As with all generational timelines, there is some debate on when Gen Z begins, but the general conclusion is 1996 and onward. The oldest of the Founders are just coming into adulthood, and consequently, just becoming bonafide consumers. That doesn’t mean understanding this demographic is all about getting ahead of the curve-- these young folks already possess $44 billion in spending power, and rival Millennials if we include the money their parents spend to make them happy-- an important factor, as we’ll look at later. More importantly, as Gen Z comes of age, they’ll number close to 80 million-- beating out Millennials by more than 5 million. Additionally, Gen Zers are leaving Facebook and turning to ephemeral apps like Snapchat or anonymous ones like Whisper, where the advertising is more organic and curated.

The Good Stuff:

Millennials 2.0: The differences between the Founders and the Millennials are great, but so are the similarities. In some case, Gen Z acts as a natural evolution of the Millennial generation. The human attention span continues to shrink (even lower than goldfish), and Gen Zers are indicative of this development. This means visual marketing will continue to increase in importance-- images over text, digestible infographics over long-form articles. Millennials were known for their multitasking, but the Founders blow them out of the water, commonly interacting with 4-5 screens at a time. Companies need to ensure their processes are streamlined or risk losing the patience of Gen Zers.

Big $penders: At least, relatively speaking. Relative income is a very important factor to consider when you hear a statistic like “Gen Zers spend 22 percent of their income on video games.” That said, the Founders’ spending trends are indicative of a greater underlying trait-- their independence. Gen Zers have taken the reigns from their parents when it comes to personal and back-to-school shopping, a far cry from the hovering “helicopter parents” of Millennials. Not only that, but Zers influence their parents’ purchasing decisions, as evidenced by dual-target market ads such as this one.

Hope Floats: Ah, the innocence of youth. Only 6% of Gen Zers fear what the future might bring, 72% want to own their own business, and 76% want to turn their hobbies into a full-time job. Once again, it’s important to consider that the youngest members of this demographic are around 6-7 years old, and don’t yet realize that there aren’t many careers to be had in Nerf wars or Lego construction. Still, Generation Z is being raised in a world of resources, and a world where self starters succeed all around them. Mark Zuckerberg has replaced Buzz Aldrin as a national hero, startup runner has replaced doctor as the golden profession, and Silicon Valley has replaced New York City as the national youth mecca. Consequently, brands looking to appeal to the Founders must look towards empowerment and guidance, such as that found in P&G’s popular “Like a Girl” spot. Credit unions looking to connect with Zers might look towards financial investment guidance to help them achieve their dreams.

Impatience, independence, and optimism are currently the three defining traits of Generation Z. Though they may change as the generation ages, they currently possess enough spending power and influence over their parents to be a valuable targeted demographic for brands everywhere. If you need help reaching the youth, contact The Pod Advertising today for Blooming Creative solutions!