“Generation Z” is a popular term that refers to the generation of people born in the mid-‘90s and early 2000s. Also known as the iGeneration, this group of young adults was born during a time of rapidly changing technology and are now taking over everything.
In recent years, more Generation Z members are becoming visible and become subject matter in everyday life. But, why? Who are they? What do they want? What makes them different? Why should we take them into consideration? Most importantly, why they are that important for the future of e-commerce?
Let’s explore their characteristics and their importance for e-commerce by looking at the traits that make up the generation.
Who are these people?
With their Internet-first mindset, this group of young people represents a completely new way of doing things. Being the first real “digital native” generation, more than half of Generation Z will reach adulthood without ever having known a world without the internet. They are mobile-first, technology-embracing, entrepreneurial, bold, unbound by tradition, and community-oriented.
While some businesses were still discussing digital transformation or the benefits of the mobile-first approach, these young people were already there. However, before their specialties, it is necessary to understand why this group of people is so important for the e-commerce world.
The answer is easy, just before the pandemic Generation Z was holding a $143 billion spending power in their hands. Mckinsey Research suggests that by the end of 2020, now 40% of consumers belong to this exciting generation. So, the answer to the question is pretty obvious: They are “the” consumer group every brand wants to attract.
Various industries have already realized this potential and started to work on their strategies. “Indeed, the new luxury buyer is younger than ever!” words of Bożena Nawara-Borek, Swarovski’s E-commerce Manager responsible for the CEEMEA, to describe the new consumer base.
She says “This means brands will also need to reshape themselves internally to better align with this new customer base. Those customers are digital natives and access information completely differently, but does it mean that they’ll be buying online only? I don’t think so, but certainly, in terms of brand building, brand equity building, marketing communication, blogs, forums, information on brands, a lot of it will take place online and luxury brands need to be well prepared to communicate with customers in this virtual zone. Digitalization first!”
It is also not only about their purchases for themselves, they also affect the decision of the entire household in terms of purchasing. According to an IBM research, more than 70% counted to having an influence on household shopping decisions.
Different consumer groups bring consumer behavior shift, thus major preference disruption. When this meets with the effects of Covid-19, it is inevitable to keep pace with the change. If you don’t, you can’t survive anyways.
The e-commerce industry is facing a new age in consumer behavior – directly influenced by Gen Z. The business world is changing to meet the needs of Generation Z shoppers. So in a changing environment like this, what do retail and consumer goods professionals need to know about Gen Z?
Characteristics of the Gen Z
This generation of young people that is tech-savvy, multitasker, always connected and perhaps even a little more independent than the millennials, know what they want and don’t afraid to ask for it. Gen Z’s proclivity towards technology is resulting in a shift in consumer behavior, which ultimately impacts e-commerce.
Experience is More Important than the Product
Since they were born in a world that is so connected and information is always reachable, many activities for Generation z considered as experiences, and shopping is also one of them. In addition to properties of the purchased product or brand perception, the most important issue for these young adults is having a seamless shopping experience.
A seamless experience regardless of shopping channels turns the experience into something satisfying and worth sharing. That’s why creating an omnichannel structure for your brands is one of the most important things to meet their needs. Google reports that 84% using their smartphones to look up reviews, product details, coupons, and more while shopping in-store.
Another condition that describes a shopping experience as ‘good’ for Gen Z, is speed. For those who experienced dial-up internet, waiting for a web page to load can be more acceptable, however, the members of Generation Z, born into the world of speed. So they don't have any tolerance for anything that doesn't keep up with their pace.
Fast Company determines Gen Z’s attention span as 8 seconds. Yes, only 8 seconds. Brands have been figuring out how to engage with a generation known for limited attention spans, fickle tastes when it comes to loyalty, and always being connected. While tech giants like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram might be able to provide answers when it comes to what appeals to Gen Z, as long as online stores quickly redesign themselves to accommodate Gen Z’s expectations, they can also reach success.
Easy checkout and membership mechanisms, fast apps and websites, advance omnichannel scenarios and convenience in every step can bring the approvement of Gen Z members. They have limited time for you so make those seconds count and turn them into a purchase.
Content is important for every customer now, but it's the lifeblood for Generation Z. So if you're aiming to catch their attention you'll need some new tricks up your sleeve. And yes we're not talking about entertainment, pretty pictures, and videos on social media only. As a matter of fact, whatever you thought was hot in the past looks like nothing compared to what this generation has now.
If you want to attract the attention of Generation Z, you’ll have to step up your content game - create inspiring, entertaining, and highly relevant content that they actually want to spend time on.
While video content and interactivity are booming on social platforms, Gen Z craves for more; Google research suggests that 43% discover or keep up with the latest trends through video. They are becoming disengaged with text-only stories. To keep up with the new generation of video-oriented consumers, you need a steady flow of engaging visual content.
As we mentioned above, you only have 8 seconds to attract a member of Gen Z. These people are processing information much too quickly, thus they don’t have any second to lose. Brands should keep in mind that information to be successful at keeping their customers engaged.
Authentic and Conscious
Like generations before them, Gen Z seeks to define their identity and communicate it to the world around them. But what makes this generation unique is their growing influence and power.
Mostly, they are aware of social topics and interested in what happens around them. They are moved by self-awareness and they know what they are worth. Thus, when it comes to shopping, they always look for customized shopping experiences both online and offline.
They prefer brands according to their societal messages and actions, their sensitivity to social issues, and whether they understand their uniqueness as an individual. So if you want to impress a Gen Z member, you have to take a responsive stance and offer personalized shopping experiences.
Keen to Social Channels
According to recent research, almost every Gen Z consumer, to be precise 97% of them use social media for shopping inspiration. These people are spending a significant amount of time on social media channels. Not only for the research phase but with the availability of social commerce they also bring a whole shopping experience to this medium.
Research and Market’s global research points out the magnitude of the social commerce market; the global size of the market was projected to be $89.4 Billion in 2020 and estimated to reach $604.5 Billion by 2027.
This shows once again the need for omnichannel scenarios that we have just highlighted. Every channel available is on the radar of Gen Z consumers and they don’t stick with one option ever.
Gen Z is emerging as a powerful force in the world of e-commerce. These young shoppers are using their voices to advocate for brands and products that are changing their lives, and their influence is having a big impact on online retail.
How can your brand keep up with the consumer trend?
As we went through all these characteristics it can be suitable to say that, the retail race is harder than ever. However, those who say that the future of retail and e-commerce passes through Generation Z do not say this for no reason. This undeniable potential and the power of a generation can be the factor that determines either your brand goes on top or to the bottom in the competition.
To make sure your brand journey is heading to the top, providing a rich, contextual, fast, and comprehensive shopping experience should be the first item on the agenda. To succeed in creating that perfect journey, using new technologies, building fast and robust infrastructure and manage it easily from a single point is important than ever.
That’s why having various capabilities in your toolbox or having a digital commerce partner that provides everything you need, as Inveon does, might be what your brand needs. Don’t wait to vanish from the race of e-commerce and do something about it today. If you would like to, our experts are available for a chat. Contact us today!