Will Gen Z be the ‘most disruptive generation ever’ for retail and brand marketers?
A Bank of America report describes Gen Z as the “most disruptive generation ever,” due not only to their technological savviness but also for their focus on sustainability and activism.
The report, “OK Zoomer,” defines the generation as individuals born between 1996 and 2016. Findings are based on a global survey during August of over 14,500 individuals.
Gen Z — the oldest of whom are currently aged 24 — will surpass Millennials’ earnings power by 2031, with overall spending power augmented to the “Great Wealth Transfer” from Boomers and the Silent Generation.
With 45 percent of the group online “almost constantly” and the overall generation treating internet access “as necessary a utility as water or electricity,” Gen Z is expected to accelerate some Millennial trends, including e-commerce, shifts toward streaming media and emerging payments, such as cryptocurrencies and mobile wallets.
But Bank of America contends Gen Z are “true digital natives” and characterizes Millennials as “playing catch-up.”
One difference is Gen Z’s preference for products over experiences. Luxury is seen as a beneficiary as Gen Z gains more clout — “status symbols continue to matter for the next generation with social media an ‘always on’ place to measure and compare social makers.”
Gen Z’s commitment to sustainability stands out, as well, and related headwinds cited for marketers include fast fashion, meat, cars and air travel.
Their activist focus is also evident as four in 10 Gen Zers see themselves as “citizens of the world” versus just two in 10 Boomers. The report states, “They grew up in the aftermath of the financial crisis and flourished as social rights for LGBTQ+ and movements such as #metoo came to the fore.”
Finally, Gen Z will absorb the brunt of the pandemic’s fallout as many enter the workforce.
Bank of America stated, “These experiences have shaped Gen Z to be a very different generation from Millennials — key activists on climate change, fiscally cautious, valuing luxury/quality over quantity, and better skilled for an automated world. We think financial markets often underestimate these differences, assuming Gen Z to be the same as their predecessors, missing the distinctions that help understand the changing new consumer.”
- Thematic Investing OK Zoomer: Gen Z Primer – Bank Of America
- Meet ‘Generation Covid’ — the newest cohort on the heels of Gen Z – Business Insider
- Gen Z incomes predicted to beat millennials’ in 10 years and be ‘most disruptive generation ever’ – CNBC
- Move over Boomer: Here’s how the ‘Gen Z revolution’ could transform your portfolio, says Bank of America – Financial News
- THE RISE OF GEN Z – Advertising Age
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Gen Z behaving somewhat similarly to Millennials or a step-change different? Will their online proclivity, focus on sustainability, activism or some other trait be the biggest obstacle for brand and retail marketers?