The internet has spoken about millennials ad nauseam. Advertisers love them for their buying power while others find them to be entitled and demanding. But while we’re focused on today’s biggest consumers, tomorrow’s are already queuing up for the takeover. Gen Z, those born in the mid-90s to early 2000s, are expected to comprise $44 billion in buying power by 2025 according to a study by Sparks & Honey Culture Forecast. It’s no wonder brands are paying attention.
So how is Gen Z shaping the future of the connected consumer? The biggest way is in who they consider influencers and what they expect from them. Gen Z tends to value radical transparency and conscious consumption more than hyper-constructed branding and celebrity spokespeople. Where other generations have looked to their favorite athletes and actors for product endorsements, Gen Z seeks and trusts messages from influencers their own age. They want content produced by and for their age group, those they can trust know them best.
What else do they want? Responsiveness and loyalty in new and paramount ways. If a brand doesn’t anticipate their needs or respond to messages on social media within approximately six hours, they’ll consider switching. They believe loyalty is earned and they want to do business with brands that give it as much as they expect it. Lastly, they’re looking to brands not to influence a conversation, but provide the platform upon which to have it. Leaning into that truth and going with the flow of the conversation will bode better for companies than clamoring for a sense of control. The times are changing and only those who are willing to unflinchingly adapt will thrive.
Photo credits: Rami Al-zayat (top post) and James Bak (bottom post)