From avocado toast to being unlikely to ever afford a mortgage, the news is full of millennials at the minute. While they've certainly had a big impact on the way we approach communication, it's important that we start thinking about what comes next. Generation Z is here and it's already a target market for many brands.
What is Generation Z?
Those born in the mid-1990s onwards are now known as Generation Z. They've also been called Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Founders, Plurals, Centennials, Generation Next and Generation We. They represent a powerful consumer group, and are not to be confused with millennials.
So, what's important for Generation Z, and how do they differ from those that came before?
Let's get ethical
Generation Z were born into a world that has perhaps reached its peak awareness of issues such as climate change and terrorism. This is particularly the case with the environment – 61 per cent of Australian teens said that they cared whether their families purchased "green" products, and 70 per cent actively made an effort to reduce energy consumption, according to a report by Grail Research.
So brands need to start showing more than ever that they are making efforts to be ethical. Generation Z also has a lot of influence on the purchases of their parents, which is worth bearing in mind when you're marketing to older customers too.
Even more than millennials, Generation Z have grown up in world where everyone is constantly connected. They have up to five screens available to them (thanks to iPads and tablets), instead of the millennials two (laptop and phone), and this means communication professionals need to target each of these screens to get their messages across.
They're leaving some forms of communication behind completely. Emails and text use, for instance, is falling. In fact, SMS among young people is predicted to fall 20 per cent in the next five years, according to the Grail Research study.
This connectedness and awareness has meant that Generation Z are even more global than millennials. The global aspect also has an impact on their purchasing habits – the prevalence of online shopping means they're not restricted to their own country when they look to buy.
Despite being better connected than ever before, Generation Z are also showing signs that they prefer things to be a little more private. The use of Snapchat in particular is high amongst this new generation (45 per cent of Snapchat users are in the 18-24 age bracket, which is the highest for any social media platform, according to Business Insider Australia). Young people seem to prefer the transience of the app better to posting things permanently on Facebook, as millennials often do.
This transience is also considered to be a difference between Generation Z and millennials. It's estimated that Generation Z's attention span is even shorter, around 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000, according to Bloomberg. So, communication professionals have to be able to capture their attention fast – videos and images will be more important than ever in doing this. A short attention span means Generation Z won't be reading much.
Generation Z is still emerging, which means it's still being defined. We need to keep a constant watch on this new consumer group, and see how we can adapt to their changing habits. For more communication trends, please visit our Insights page.