Gen Z Has Arrived: Are You Prepared?

Shedding Light on How the Post-Millennial Generation Will Help Shape the Market

By Marcos Jacober

It’s time to move over Millennials; there’s a new group of “kids” in town.

Generation Z, also known as Gen Z or iGen, currently makes up over one-fifth of the U.S. population and is the most racially and ethnically diverse group in our nation’s history. True digital natives, they are also considered the most influential group of technology trendsetters, often providing businesses significant forecasting opportunities regarding upcoming tendencies related to consumer behavior.

As a business expert and someone who has worked closely with this cohort, I have gained numerous insights behind the drive of Gen Z. I believe it is crucial for today’s business leaders to understand the key traits that make Gen Z stand out from previous generations of customers to better identify and cultivate effective ways of approaching and marketing to them. After all, they will eventually be the primary form of competition in business in just a few short years.

Getting to Know Gen Z:

The post-millennial generation, born between 1995-2010, is vastly different than their predecessors. For example, the Great Recession and the Student Loan Crisis have shaped their relationship with money. As a result, they are less optimistic about student debt and economic opportunity. Simply put: they prefer to play it safe.

Gen Z often approaches areas related to money cautiously, taking a lesson from the often-extravagant habits of previous generations. In fact, when asked in a recent survey, 72 percent of Gen Zers said that cost is the most vital factor when shopping and approximately 50 percent admitted using their phones in-store to price compare before making a purchase.  

Here are some other Gen Z traits I think are worth understanding:

  • Gen Z is more skeptical about traditional investments that are stock market-related. Instead, they tend to search for alternatives, such as the gig economy, cryptocurrency or “solo-preneuring” – think Uber, Airbnb and other popular gigs.
  • Because the earliest segment of Gen Zers was born in the late 90s, they have never lived in a world without smartphones and social media. They are more well-versed in tech trends (compared to Millennials). They are also better able to receive and absorb information instantaneously. Researchers have said that a Gen Zer has an average attention span of eight seconds. This statistic should challenge brands to keep their messages concise.
  • Gen Zers prefer brands that offer more than merely a logo or tagline; companies should have a story and persona that they can relate to – their beliefs, their values and more. In many cases, Gen Zers are often willing to pay more simply to own a product that reflects their personality.
  • Gen Z’s self-reliance is all about autonomy. It’s in their nature to fend for themselves because they think it’s safer than depending on others. They take care of things themselves because they are proactive and want to ensure stability.

The Influx: Preparing for Gen Z

So, how can companies get ready for the impending influx of Gen Z in the near future? For starters, brands should take the necessary measures to accommodate the needs of Gen Z for their products and services and to also appeal across generations.

More importantly, business leaders must walk the talk and remember that honesty and transparency are the best policies. As noted above, Gen Zers have increased expectations; therefore, they won’t hesitate to call out an organization on its “promises” if they are not content with its products or services.

While some of Gen Z’s traits may appear challenging to adapt to, they also pose windows of opportunities with the right approach. Ultimately, if you can meet the expectations of Gen Z, then you can rest assured that they will be sustainable in the long run.


ABOUT MARCOS JACOBER:

Brazilian immigrant Marcos Jacober is an investor, author, international speaker and teacher. He is the CEO of Life Hacks Wealth and the founder of Airbtheboss. Jacober moved to the US in 1998 with only a dream and $100 in his pocket. Against the odds, he achieved the American dream using the gig economy to fuel his success. Father of two beautiful children, Jacober has helped thousands of individuals from different countries start their careers here in the U.S. His book, Eat This Mr. President, was released in 2018. For more information: lifehackswealth.com 

@colormagazineusa