Millennials may be making headlines, but Gen Z is the group to watch. A recent Nielsen report called ‘Total Audience’ highlights the recent shift in demographics as well as how these changes are likely to affect the future of media.
Members of Generation Z were born between 1997 and 2015, making its oldest members roughly 20 years old. The oldest Millennials, by comparison, are around 37 years old. The two groups have a lot in common when it comes to overall device ownership, but they also have some stark contrasts when it comes to how they use those devices.
Gen Z loves mobile, but not Google search
For several years, we have seen a trend toward shopping online as compared to going to a traditional storefront. Data on Gen Z, however, shows a change in that trend. Members of Gen Z generally prefer to shop in stores as opposed to online. More than 65% of Gen Z respondents said they prefer shopping in a store most of the time and only 22% preferred using a web browser. That doesn’t mean that mobile technology doesn’t play a part in their shopping, however.
One of the biggest differences between members of Gen Z and the rest of the public is how much they are likely to use their mobile devices while shopping. Gen Z respondents reported using smartphone apps more often than other generations – including Millennials – even when shopping in traditional stores. Gen Z participants used almost every web or smartphone option more than other respondents. The only thing they used less of the time was Google search.
Snapchat leading marketing channel
Texting remained the single most popular phone activity while shopping, with an average of 39% of people from all demographics reporting they used it. Members of Gen Z, however, reported texting 50% of the time and also using Snapchat much more often. While shopping in retail stores, 44% of the Gen Z participants said they use Snapchat in comparison to only 15% on average.
For retailers, this means approaching how they promote their products, their brand or their service. Working with Snapchat influencers to promote their name and using Snapchat tools like disappearing coupon codes and sponsored filters have been winning strategies for start-ups like WetSeal as well as established luxury brands such as Burberry.
Retailers need to be flexible more than ever
Gen Z is bringing a new perspective and new expectations to the retail market. While Gen Z consumers may share much in common with generations that have come before, their savvy use of technology along with a preference for tactile shopping experiences means that retailers and marketers alike need to be increasingly flexible and accessible if they want to capture this growing market.