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Move Over Millennials, Generation Z is Here

Gen-Z-Claire-Madden_Infographic_McCrindle

And we all thought marketing to millennials was hard.

Get ready for a whirlwind. Generation Z is the next consumer generation and they are strikingly different from their millennial counterparts. They are the largest generational group in the United States, ranging in age from 12 – 19. These young teens were born iPhone-in-hand–already technologically savvy before they started to walk.

In short, they’re onto the next big thing before you even know it exists. What’s more, they are curating new and innovative ideas before they’re out of their teen years. Their goals include finding independence and entrepreneurialism, self-direction, and a spirit of ingenuity. When polled, 60% of them said they want to have an impact on the world.  They are doing big and great things at an even younger age than the most successful millennials. Take, for example, Adora Svitak, who created a TED Talk that has had over 3 million views, “What Adults Can Learn From Kids.” At 16, she has already created more buzz for herself as a thought leader than many people will in their entire lifetime. With such ambitious spirits, Generation Z is coming in hot as the rising consumer generation with very big ideas.

Staying Social

Generation Z is all about social media and entrepreneurship. 52% of teens use Social Media sites for a typical research assignment for school, and 72% of high school students want to start their own company. Get your business insights out on social media so you can support their research habits and aid their life-long goals.

They want to see images and compatible content across different platforms. Generation Z teens will multi-task on up to 5 screens at a time. Their TV is showing Disney Channel in the background while they’re playing Crossy Road on their iPad and their iPhone is buzzing with GroupMe notifications, all the while their laptop is sitting idle on the desk with a half-written essay for school. It is so easy to get distracted with 5 different screens, so their attention span is very short. The average attention span of a GenZ is 8 seconds, just enough time to read a headline and glance at a visual. Market to them with compelling images that will hold their attention for those crucial 8 seconds, and make sure your website content is compatible for all of their different devices.

Do not treat Generation Z like Millennials.

They want messages that depict their reality, not utopian messages that highlight a “perfect world” or the “American Dream.” They instead want brands to speak to their values of independence and self-direction and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Ahead of the Curve

Generation Z has already contributed $44 billion to the American economy, yet only a few major companies have started targeting them. Ford is one of them. They are aware that marketing to Generation Z will be an uphill battle, but they have hit the ground running with trend reports and research that has defined the GenZ mantra as,  “Good things come to those who act.” Suffice to say, this mantra is the first step to really understanding the direction in which to go to successfully market to this fickle generation. Free People has also tailored most of their marketing efforts in the last quarter to this generation by emphasizing an independent, free Bohemian lifestyle. They have seen a net sale increase of 25%.


So what does this mean for your brand? Take a page from Ford’s and Free People’s book and start your research now. GenZ is going to be taking 2015 by storm and it’s important to start a campaign that markets to them now. Just as every generation before them, you will soon see them entering the workforce and starting their own businesses, so it’s necessary to get a jump start on understanding their needs. Need help researching and implementing a cutting edge strategy for your brand? Social Factor can help. Start a conversation with us today!