The key to operating a successful business is understanding the consumer. While many companies have spent recent years studying the Millennial market, however, Generation Z is often overlooked. With almost a third of the U.S. population belonging to Gen Z, it’s more important now than consider this group as the cornerstone of a successful future. One of the best ways to understand the consumer and work habits of this group is by looking at and analyzing Generation Z statistics.
A Quick Overview of Generation Z
- A whopping 32% of the U.S. population belongs to Generation Z. That’s more than any other generation, including Millennials.
- Generation Z accounts for $29 to $143 billion in direct spending and around $600 billion in spending by family members.
- About half of Generation Z spend 10 hours or more each day online.
- 95% of Generation Z teens have a smartphone or access to one, while almost half are online almost constantly during their waking hours.
- Consumers in the Generation Z range are twice as likely to purchase goods via mobile devices.
- The favorite social media sites of Generation Z include Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Over half check these accounts daily.
- Not all shopping is done online, with 67% of Generation Z preferring to shop in brick-and-mortar stores the majority of the time.
Who Makes up Generation Z?
To understand the statistics behind Generation Z, we need to understand the group itself. Like Generation X, or those born between the Baby Boomers and the Millenials, Generation Z is considered to be transitional.
Generation Z encompasses those born just after the Millennials. However, there’s no single definition of the precise divide between the generations. The Pew Research Center, generally accepted as an official definition, states that Millennials are those who were born between 1981 and 1996. Generation Z is those who were born in the following years, between 1997 and 2012.
Other sources categorize the generation just a little bit differently. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, for example, offers a more broad definition. According to Webster, Generation Z can include anyone born around the late 90s through to those born in the early 2000s.
Because there are different definitions of Generation Z depending on who you ask, the age range of the group is sometimes considered fluid. In general, a Gen Z consumer is one that follows on the tail end of the Millennial generation and adheres to the online and shopping habits of their cohorts.
It’s important to remember when looking at statistics that they may not apply the population studied as a whole. Correlation does not always imply causation. That being said, common stats are a good place for businesses looking to reach a new population.
About Generation Z
It’s a good idea to understand general statistics about Generation Z before looking into details about consumer habits. Here, we go over what every business should know about Generation Z as the group reaches adulthood.
How Many People Belong to Gen Z?
Generation Z is currently one of the biggest populations in the world. For the first time, Gen Z has overtaken millennials, with nearly a third of the U.S. population now belonging to Generation Z. Other countries are also following suit. As Baby Boomers retire and Millennials struggle with disposable income, Gen Z is expected to make up more than 80% of the U.S. consumer population by 2026.
How Much Buying Power does Gen Z Hold?
Many people in Generation Z are still teenagers, meaning that they don’t have a whole lot of buying power. However, with the group approaching their late teens and early adulthood, they’re posed to be ideal consumers.
What is the Future of Gen Z Consumers?
With Generation Z predicted to hold more buying power than any other age group, it’s important that businesses understand them to ensure the future of their company. Gen Z is expected to account for almost half of U.S. consumers by 2020, and so their shopping habits are vital for the future success of any company.
How Does Gen Z Influence Spending?
Generation Z doesn’t just shake up the status quo by their own hand. Many families adjust their spending habits to care for a generation on the cusp of adulthood. Those in Generation Z are only just starting to make money, and while they have some spending power, the majority of their influence still lies in family spending.
Generation Z tends to be well informed when it comes to shopping, thanks to online information and reviews. They’re also more willing to try out new brands or products. Boomers and Millennials alike turn to the advice of Generation Z when shopping, meaning that this group can have a significant impact on spending when it comes to food, furniture, and household goods.
How are Retailers Marketing Towards Gen Z?
As Gen Z reaches late teens and early adulthood, many companies are starting to realize the value of this up and coming age group. In fact, over half of U.S. retailers concentrated on targeting those between 13 and 19, or the younger side of the Gen Z market. At the same time, businesses have been abandoning marketing campaigns towards older generations, such as the Baby Boomers.
What Ethnicities Comprise Gen Z?
One thing that sets Gen Z apart from other generations is racial and ethnic diversity. Almost half of the age group is comprised of minorities. Businesses should be aware of this diverse marketplace if they want to succeed and market products or services accordingly.
How Generation Z Uses the Internet
Almost half of Generation Z is online “almost constantly,” creating a unique avenue for marketing experts. Most of those in Generation Z spend a minimum of an hour online each day, while over half spend ten hours a day online. With more and more young people spending their days on the Internet, it’s important for businesses to address online retail if they want to remain successful.
Much of the time that Generation Z spends online is on the phone. Members of this group spend around 11 hours per week on their mobile phone, more than any other generation to date. More than a quarter of Gen Z cohorts use their phones for more than 10 hours per day, while almost a third stay up past midnight each night on their mobile device.
Gen Z tends to use electronic devices earlier than other age groups as well, with 95% of teens having access to a cell phone. Some even feel uncomfortable without a phone on them for a half-hour or less.
Streaming and entertainment make up more than half of mobile device usage amongst Generation Z. However, this isn’t all that they use their phones for. Around 58% also play games on their mobile while 36% use theirs for schoolwork, and 28% to study on their own time. Only 17% use their phones for shopping, though there is a divide in gender.
Even though less than 20% of Gen Z report using their phones for online shopping, they’re still twice as likely to use their phones for Internet purchases than other generations. It’s crucial that retailers learn how to reach out via mobile apps to snag the attention of the next generation of consumers.
Companies should make apps easy to navigate if they want to draw in Gen Z business. 60% of Generation Z will refuse to use an app that’s slow to load, while 62% won’t use a site or app that’s difficult to navigate.
Email and Connectivity
Conventional mail, also known as snail mail, is often seen as inconvenient by Gen Z. They prefer email. Fewer than 1% of Gen Z-ers either don’t have email or don’t check their email. On the other hand, almost 60% of Generation Z check their email multiple times per day, making email campaigns a fairly effective marketing strategy.
For the most part, Generation Z is comfortable receiving emails from their favorite brands. Almost 30% claim that they would be alright receiving promotional emails once per day, while 19% would like to get emails once per week. Around 18% of Generation Z cohorts would prefer emails just once per month.
How Generation Z Uses Social Media
The Most Popular Sites
While Facebook was wildly popular with Millennials, the same can’t be said of Generation Z. Usage amongst the age group fell from 71% in 2014 to just over 50% last year. Instead, younger Generation Z cohorts prefer YouTube, with 85% of those between ages 13 and 17 using the site. Around 72% are also on Instagram, while almost 70% are on Snapchat.
Using Social Media
Social media is a great way for businesses to reach a Generation Z audience. Over 40% of Gen Z prefer to use Instagram to follow brands through the company’s official page or through their favorite influencers.
Social Media Branding
Generation Z doesn’t just follow brands they know on social media. 85% say that they use sites such as Instagram to learn more about a product or service. Almost 70% of Gen Z-ers can be convinced to visit a brick-and-mortar store through social media, with 80% citing social media as the reason for trying out a new brand in-person.
Over 20% of Generation Z prefers engaging with brands through social media channels. However, businesses may be surprised to learn that around 19% prefer email, while around 18% like to engage in the flesh. This makes these approaches another effective way of reaching a Gen Z population.
The Effects of Social Media
Spending time on social media can affect the way that Generation Z cohorts think about themselves. 42% of the group feel that sites such as Facebook and Instagram affect their self-perception and how others view them, compared to 28% for other generations. 39% of the age group feels social media can have an impact on self-esteem.
Online videos and streaming content is easier to access now than ever and affordable for even younger consumers. More than 70% of Generation Z spends at least three hours daily watching videos on the Internet. Many also have a streaming subscription, with 71% of the age group having access to Netflix.
How Generation Z Works
While Millennials tended to start their career with a college degree, many of those in Generation Z don’t feel that this is a necessary step. Three-quarters of those in Generation Z don’t think a four-year degree is the only viable path toward higher education. Almost 90% also voice concerns about student loan debt.
Looking for Jobs
Generation Z is well aware of their worth and can be somewhat picky when looking for jobs. 77% say they would take a company’s ethnic diversity into account when applying for a position. Many of those in Gen Z also turn to the Internet to learn more about a prospective employer. 70% use sites like Glassdoor for research.
While they may be picky about employment, members of Generation Z are also concerned about money and spending habits. Over 80% consider finances to be their biggest stressor, compared to just 64% of those in older generations. This means that they’re constantly looking for deals and more likely to take low prices into account when shopping.
How Generation Z Shops
Businesses looking to capture the attention of Generation Z have to act fast. Being constantly inundated with information means that members of the group are quick to filter out anything they don’t deem relevant. Generation Z only has an average attention span of eight seconds, making short ads and quick videos an ideal marketing strategy for businesses.
Online Vs. In-Store
Despite spending so much time online, 67% of Generation Z still prefers to shop in a brick-and-mortar store. This may be because younger members of the generation don’t have access to a bank account or credit cards. Still, retailers should take into account that they may be able to reach out to the youngest generation better with a physical storefront.
Ads and Media
While online ads can be effective, it’s important that companies make sure they reach their target audience. More than half of Generation Z uses ad-blocking software, which often makes popups a poor marketing strategy. Instead, businesses can attract attention by offering value through blog posts, images, video streams, and more.
When viewing an ad, Generation Z isn’t overly fond of animation and high-tech graphics. Instead, 67% would prefer a simple advertisement featuring real people. 63% prefer to see their favorite social media influencers, while just 37% want to see mainstream celebrities.
Generation Z tends to rely heavily on online reviews when looking at new brands or products. 68% of the group read at least three reviews before committing to a purchase. Many also follow advice from social media, with almost half of Generation Z following ten or more influencers at a time. Almost three-quarters also follow at least one brand, while 52% follow more.
Not only does Gen Z rely on product reviews when shopping, but also willing to provide their own feedback. 43% of those in Generation Z would leave a product review, while 42% would play an online gaming campaign run by a brand.
With all of the data leaks popping up in the news in recent years, it’s little wonder that Generation Z is reluctant to trust companies with their personal information. Less than a third of cohorts are willing to give up their data when companies ask for it, and such a request may affect their shopping decisions.
More than 60% of Generation Z cohorts prefer brands that take steps to protect their data. They actively look for those that offer secure storage and encryption and are more likely to deal with companies that pride themselves on security.
Generation Z cares much more about quality than quantity. When shopping, they want the best possible bang for their buck. Two-thirds of those in Generation Z claim that it’s vital a brand offers high-quality products if it wants their loyalty. Many also take into account rewards programs and customer discounts.
Without a solid understanding of who’s buying a product or using a service, there’s no real way of knowing how to appease customers and increase revenue. As Generation Z reaches adulthood, their ever-increasing buying power makes it crucial that companies understand the group’s habits when it comes to working, shopping, and having fun.