5 Generation Z Statistics on Spending Habits That Marketers Need to Know
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  • Industry Trends

5 Generation Z Statistics on Spending Habits That Marketers Need to Know

by Jaime Netzer | Jun 11, 2019

Though the oldest members of the Generation Z cohort are just beginning to come of age, their spending power is already undeniable, and marketers who want to remain relevant must understand their unique needs. Gen Z, defined as those born after 1998, command $44 billion in buying power—nothing to scoff at, surely—but by 2020, it's projected they’ll command nearly 40 percent of all consumer shopping. What’s more, 82% of parents say their Gen Z children influence household spending.

By 2020, Gen Z will command 40% of all consumer shopping.

Another important Gen Z characteristic to note is that they are almost always online. In fact, a recent study found that 74% of Gen Z members spend five hours or more every day online. Marketers wondering how to speak to Gen Z need to find ways to connect with them online, which means catering to their unique preferences. To learn which preferences Gen Z, and many other online demographics share, check out our in-depth Forrester Report: Getting to Know Your Customers. Though they’re not so distant age-wise from the generation currently cornering the market—millennials—Gen Z has spending habits all their own.

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To help your brand speak and connect with this audience, we’ve collected a few of the most important statistics on Gen Z’s spending habits:

1. 47% of U.S. Gen Z consumers research items on mobile devices while shopping at brick-and-mortar locations

(Source: Retail Touchpoints)

Gen Z uses their smartphones and tablets as research tools both before they set foot in a brick-and-mortar store and while inside it. So what do they research? 53% check online for other items they prefer that are not available in the store where they are; 52% compare the retail price with competitors; and 51% search the web for a coupon, discount, or promotion.

Marketers should note Gen Z’s emphasis on research, as they need to offer shoppers detailed information about products and services through digital channels as well as physical ones. 

2. 60% of Gen Z folks are more likely than average consumers to hang up if their call isn’t answered in under 45 seconds

(Source: Business Wire)

Customer care is incredibly important, especially on social media. Increasingly, consumers are using social media instead of phone calls to address their customer service needs—and individualized, timely care will only become more important as Gen Z grows into its buying power.

Gen Z values a fast, fluid customer service response more than other groups, meaning brands need to find a way to seamlessly connect interactions as consumers hop between channels. For example, a customer who raises an issue on Facebook should still be able to get an update on the situation through Twitter. 

Learn how Khoros Care can help your brand scale your customer service so you can respond quickly and personally to inquiries that span multiple channels.

3. 42% percent of Gen Z respondents in a recent study said they would participate in an online game for a campaign; 43% would write a product review

(Source: Forbes)

These two numbers tell marketers something important about Gen Z: they’re looking to get involved with brands and even invest their own time and energy into building a brand’s reputation. Gen Z loves creative campaigns that encourage collaborative engagement, which makes social media the perfect place to connect with this group. Brands should use this as an opportunity to create personalized, interactive experiences that enable consumers to contribute to something that feels larger than themselves.

4. 60% of Gen Z shoppers won’t use apps or websites that load slowly or are difficult to navigate

(Source: Forbes)

Efficiency is the name of the game for Gen Z. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly half of the Gen Z demographic say that the ability to find things quickly is the most important aspect of shopping for them. At the most basic level, retailers must ensure their online assets run smoothly and quickly.

Beyond just site speed, efficiency and intuitiveness are still crucial in everything brands do—especially with regards to social media customer care. Although the majority of Gen Z spends five or more hours online per day, they don’t want to wait around for brands to respond to their issues. Brands need to emphasize social media customer care, as providing a fast, personalized response is akin to having a quick, easy to use website.

5. 63% of Gen Z members prefer real people to celebrities when it comes to advertisements

(Source: BazaarVoice)

Gen Z’s preference for real people demonstrates the importance of both transparency and trust. Influencers can still be effective spokespeople for brands targeting Gen Z, but they must be speaking from an authentic place that aligns with the brand’s clearly articulated values.

Gen Z members are digital natives, meaning they cannot remember a world in which the internet wasn’t constantly available to them. This is a new characteristic for marketers to consider, as many millennials (the generation immediately preceding Gen Z) didn’t have regular internet access until they were well into their teens, and most didn’t have smartphones until after college. Though millennials have wasted no time becoming digitally proficient, the experience of Gen Z is completely different.

How can marketers speak and connect with Gen Z?

By now you’ve probably heard the statistic claiming millennials’ average attention span is only 12 seconds long, but Gen Z has an even shorter 8 second attention span. We’re not talking about a generation of attention-deficient people, writes READY Education, but rather a generation with an “eight-second filter.” Brands don’t have any time to waste in capturing Gen Z’s attention, and once they do, they’ll have to keep it by being responsive and engaging.

Technology like Khoros can help brands reduce their response time on social media and capture performance data to create more relevant social media marketing content—both key to courting the Gen Z market. To learn more about this demographic and others, read our in-depth Forrester Report: Getting to Know Your Customers.


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