Generation Z

Generation Z: 72 million and counting

Who comes after the last “Millennial?” In 2014, the last of the Millennial generation turned 18. And while Millennials may be the most researched generation in history, marketers are already beginning to pay attention to a new group, dubbed “Generation Z.”

Generation Z represents the first generation of the 21st century, and is comprised of America’s youth–those aged 2 to 19. This diverse group is already making an impact with marketers, especially the sweet spot of tweens and teens aged 11-16.

Here are three facts you need to know about Generation Z:

They may not have a job–but they do have spending power

Living at home has its benefits for Gen Z, as their parent or guardian buys them what they need–and, often, what they want as well. With parents taking care of the basics, kids are free to spend their own money (which typically comes from an allowance) as pure discretionary income. According to Mintel, it is estimated that children aged 5-14 account for $43 billion in direct spending, and exert a strong influence over $200 billion worth of sales[i].

Two screens are too few

From my three-year-old niece who already knows how to FaceTime (and has her own iPhone!), to tweens who are using social media for school research projects, connectivity is more than a way of life–it is their life. On average, Gen Z uses five or more screen devices daily.

Diversity is normal

Generation Z is the last generation where Caucasians will comprise a majority in the population, and those in Gen Z are more likely than Millennials and Gen X to have a racially diverse social circle. And beyond racial diversity, Gen Z is growing up in an age of global diversity. In fact, 26% say they would need to fly to visit most of their friends on social networks.

So what does this mean for marketers?

First, you can’t afford to ignore this generation–its spending power alone is enough to make marketers pay attention. However, proceed with caution when targeting your ads and ad spend, for while an 11-year-old may be responsive to a TV commercial, a three-year-old may not be as responsive. For many products and brands, a mix of marketing to both parents and children may be the recipe for success.

Second, remember that this generation is overwhelmed and inundated with marketing messages, most likely across all of their devices. Attention spans are even shorter when users are multi-tasking, so use breakthrough creative to capture attention, or consider interruptive methods such as online takeovers or non-skippable videos to truly “force” a user to watch. While these may come at a higher media placement cost, the extra spend can pay huge returns if you can capture share of Gen Z’s spend.

Lastly, remember to be respectful. Talk to Gen Z members in their own language (symbols and emoticons), but don’t talk down to them. Find them on their social networks (YouTube, Snapchat, etc.), but don’t intrude on their space too much (this is the generation that is leaving Facebook because it “tracks” you). Reaching out to Generation Z in an authentic, respectful way will help ensure that your brand resonates with this group.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s consumer marketing programs, please contact Rose Feor at 585.421.0100.

[i] MINTEL, Marketing to Kids and Tweens, May 2014

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