The Age of the Millennial market challenged the status quo of retail, branding and customer experience in the last few years, however with cultural and social shifts a new disruptor is on the rise. By next year Generation Z is set to make up 40% of consumers and can arguably be called the most relevant and powerful generation currently. So, who are they?

The timeline for Gen Z is varied, but most will say it covers people born in 1995, up to 2014 and although they are similar to the millennial generation, their consumer behaviour differs, so we’ve categorised five of the most important Gen Z traits so that brands can connect with their next big market.

1. Online presence
Known as digital natives, Gen Z’s spend up to 5 hours or more sifting through online content and use technology to access information before deciding what brands to buy into. They value efficiency and unlimited access to any information they might need online. In order to connect with them, brands should make sure they are omnichannel and focus on being as accessible as possible. A good example of this is Nike who lists the benefits, components, history and future of each shoe, so that potential customers know everything they need before making an informed decision.

2. Individualism
Personalisation, openness and acceptance: the three keys to a true Gen Z’s heart. They value personalisation to the highest degree and link it with individual and artistic expression. They are categorized as extremely open minded and do not like being labelled or put into boxes of any kind. Brands need to focus on elements of customisation and individualism, whether that be an experience or special features. It’s no longer about exclusivity, but about being unique and individual within a supportive and open community.

3. Causes
Gen Z’s are optimistic realists: they care about their future and subsequently care about social and ethical issues. This generation are quick to mobilise for what they believe in and want to invest in brands who share the same values and social concerns. Brands need to take a stand and be active in the discussion on current world issues, promoting positive social messages will buy favour with Gen Z’s, and also help them invest in your brand. Patagonia and North Face, for example, have recently sky rocketed into popularity due to their social messages and brand ethos.

4. Transparency and trust
Gen Z’s are truth seekers and want transparency in brands and the services they are providing. Brands need to be responsive and engaging when it comes to Gen Z’s, it’s important to be seen to have strong values and to be open and transparent not only in what you stand for but in the way you conduct business. This trust also means that two thirds of Gen Z’s will buy products or services based on a friend’s recommendation, so keep your communication lines open and be vocal about what your brand stands for.

5. Future-oriented
Having grown up in an economic recession Gen Z’s are cautious with money. They no longer look at products or services for functionality, but rather the value and quality it can add to their life. They need to believe in the brand and what they are buying, it has to have an impact on their wellness and health in a positive way. Brands should focus on promoting future positive messages and show how what they offer will benefit customers in a holistic and meaningful way.

Today is a great day for new business
Today is a great day for new business