As global connectivity soars, generational shifts could come to play a more important role in setting behavior than socioeconomic differences do. Gen Z, the portion of the U.S. population born around 1996 through roughly 2010, makes up for 40 percent of the number of U.S. consumers and by 2026, Generation Z will surpass millennials as the largest consumer base in the U.S.
Members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, and they are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet. They are also digital natives who have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones.
McKinsey study based on surveys reveals four core Gen Z behaviors: Gen Zers value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world. Finally, they make decisions and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way. The search for the truth is at the root of all Generation Z's behavior.
Perhaps this search for the truth is a product of Gen Z being the first digital-native, generation; Who have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones and having to filter fact from internet fiction starting at a young age. Compared to Millennials, Generation Z customers are more skeptical; Generation Z doesn’t want to be sold to - to them, value reflects more than what’s on a price tag. Viewing consumption as access, expression of individual identity rather than possession, they’re more likely to purchase a product or service that’s backed by social accountability.
As Generation Z customers gradually establish themselves as the world's most dominant consumer group. Businesses risk falling behind if they haven't begun to bridge the gap between millennial-focused techniques to those that better cater to and appeal to Gen Zers. Businesses will need customer communications that develop authenticity and transparency which builds trust of the brand and relationships with the customers.
The establishing of relationships with customers are a vital component of customer retention. Gen Zers, being the digital native generations of social media influencers, look to the opinions, recommendations and reviews to seek validation of their decisions. Studies report roughly two-thirds of US Gen Z to read at least three reviews from multiple resources prior to making a first-time purchase. Retained customers, who are satisfied and content with a businesses' product and services are more likely to actively validate and recommend, attracting new customer acquisition.