This is the first in a three-part article on the Generation Z and its future impact on companies. Called ‘true digital natives’, Gen Z’ers are the under-21 age group. Moreover, they are the first generation raised in a totally digital world.
Full-life exposure to the internet, social networks, and mobile platforms produced a generation of true digital natives. Z’ers are at ease collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and with integrating virtual and offline experiences.
Generation Z’ers have four core behavior traits
- Value of individual expression and avoidance of labels
- Mobilize themselves for a variety of causes
- Believe in the value of dialog and verbal interaction to solve conflicts and improve the world
- Make decisions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way
Consequently, this value system is in vast contrast to the Y Generation (Millennials). They are often referred to as the ‘Me’ generation. Millennials, who were raised in an era of economic prosperity, focus on the ‘self’. They are more idealistic, more confrontational, and less willing to accept diverse points of view than Z’ers.
Given this very significant ‘values-shift’, it is important that businesses to attune themselves to address Gen Z’ers wants if they want to capture the Gen-Z dollar. Consumption as access vs. possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern — all work in tandem with the fast-changing technological advances. This all leads to a transformation of the consumer landscape.
Subsequently, businesses must rethink how they deliver value to the customer. They must reset their thoughts on scaling against personalization, and live up to their brand’s promises and ethics.
McKinsey & Company has performed extensive research on the comparison of generational values and emotional purchasing behaviors. I will be using some of this research in part two of this series on Gen Z.
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