5 Must-Know GenZ Insights for CMOs and Marketers
[5 minute read]
GenZ vs. Millenials: What Marketers Need to Know
GenZ is coming and CMOs and marketers need insights now. After a decade of news about Millenials, here comes GenZ, they make up 25% percent of the population. GenZ is here and CMOs will need to take notice if they haven’t already. It might be easy for marketers or PR professionals to assume this generation is similar to Millenials, but that’s untrue. GenZ, the oldest of whom are turning 23 in 2021, is a generation with distinct preferences and personas. This is also the most diverse generation ever, almost half of GenZ is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). And marketing and branding experts should know: their projected spending power, according to a late 202o Harris Poll, is $143 billion.
While both generations are purpose-driven and feel misunderstood and unseen by brands, especially BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+, GenZ believes cancel culture is thier weapon against feeling unseen. Millenials grew up as digital natives, but GenZ grew up as social media natives. In contrast to the hopefulness of Millenials, GenZ is are more practical and politically polarized, and view social media with skepticism.
Our GenZ insights for CMOs and marketers take into account both the data presented our team’s decades-long PR and marketing experience.
GenZ: Take Us Seriously
Grounded GenZ is taking control of their destiny, they are more likely than the general population to have already bought investments (65% vs. 45%). They feel adulthood has been delayed for them and that mental health is extremely important. They are also incredibly invested in social change and see their response to brands as a way to take back their power. GenZ also enjoys thrift shopping – perhaps because of economic uncertainty, sustainability, or simplicity – they aren’t as moved by flashy streetwear and fashion drops as their predecessors.
- 58% of GenZ women prefer to work in a freelance job or have their own business for flexible hours over working a traditional 9-5 job with a reliable paycheck.
- GenZ watched their parents “burn themselves out at work” and want to find more balance in their lives said 74% of GenZ women.
- 70% of GenZ said they have or plan to put more money into savings
- GenZ pioneered cancel culture (50% say they have personally called out a brand), yet,
- 73% of GenZ women say “social change does not actually occur on social media-it occurs with action in the real world.”
- 65% make purchases through a brand’s mobile app
- 52% say they have prioritized shopping at a small or local business to support them after the COVID outbreak.
- 3% of Gen Z have or are considering upgrading their car to make themselves feel more safe or comfortable during the pandemic
- GenZ is expecting a return to travel, with 32% saying they will increase spending on travel.
GenZ Work & Financial Preferences CMO Insights:
Having experienced recessions and pandemics to say nothing of student loans, GenZ has grown up with uncertainty.
For marketers, this means this generation’s patterns may be harder to track down and be ever-shifting, particularly because they want a more flexible lifestyle. This, of course, may change as GenZ ages, but for now, keep your eyes on the shifting sands of time, because GenZ is flexible, self-reliant, and eager to control their own destinies.
GenZ Purpose Driven CMO Insights:
Purpose-driven communication to a cancel culture generation is a double-edged sword.
It will be incredibly important for marketers and brands, large and small to understand the GenZ audience because while GenZ knows real change happens in the real world, they revel in making brands feel uncomfortable. This generation also has zero tolerance for racism from brands and society at large.
GenZ Shopping Insights
Shopping to make a statement or to self soothe.
Perhaps because of their polarized and turbulent upbringing, this generation is longing for simplicity, therefore they’re already nostalgic for childhood brands and why they embrace thrift shopping, despite being native digital shoppers. They’re craving balance, escape, and their own experiences. They see mental health as its own reward, and they’re actively seeking coping mechanisms. Marketers will need to balance escapism with fantasy for this generation because right now, they’re an extremely grounded bunch, even when they escape.
GenZ: Social Media Isn’t an Escape
It’s so easy for marketers to assume the best way to reach GenZ is through social media. For previous generations, social media represented an escapist world, but not for GenZ.
- 70% of GenZ women say “they are tired of the “Instagram aesthetic” that projects a certain lifestyle.” BUT GenZ isn’t rejecting influencers entirely,
- 67% said “influencers are more important for showing brands, than brands themselves.”
- 70% of Gen Z women say it’s more important for people to “prioritize their mental health over their physical health.”
- 56% of Gen Z women say, “I believe social media is built to be addicting and I’m working to curb my behavior”
- At home, they find driving soothing, with 38% claiming serenity through driving (compared with 28% of the population).
- They also derive a sense of comfort and escape from food, 70% say that “snacking helps me take my mind off the issues of the world (compared to 65% of the general population).
- 48% of Gen Zs miss being able to listen to music or a podcast on their daily commute (33% total)
- 60% of Gen Zs plan to spend more or maintain spend on connected fitness equipment in 2021
- 63% of Gen Zs say they have been buying nostalgic snack brands from childhood during the pandemic (63% Zs, 53% total)
GenZ Social Media Marketing Takeaways:
As social media natives, they’ve grown hardened to the communication style of social media.
Social media isn’t so much of an escape for GenZ. GenZ seems to understand life is messy and that garner a sense of authenticity from “reality.” They seem to want brands, influencers, and advertising to represent life’s realities a little more closely. Expect GenZ to view social media the way GenX views email: as a tool. Social media will increasingly be something GenZ seeks to have control over.
This generation absolutely craves escape ,and serenity, they see travel and mental health, and fitness as vital to their well-being.
GenZ: Escape CMO Insights:
Realistic and approachable escapes for a practical generation
Expect this generation to seek out authentic and approachable experiences until their finances are more secure. They’ll seek out comfort foods, nostalgia, and friends for comfort. When they’re alone, they’ll listen to music and podcasts and stay connected, but it’s likely that there will be variation in their entertainment choices. This is in part because they view certain activities as relaxing (driving) and others as required (social media and fitness), watch those motivational purposes and pair messaging accordingly. Marketers will also need to be alert and flexible to the on-the-go lifestyle of this generation.
*All statistics referenced here came from The Harris GenZ 100 Poll Round-Up.