So who is Gen Z?

If you thought Millennials were complex, Gen Z is even more so.

Gen Z


That’s the spending power that Gen Z will have this year.

By now, you should have heard about this young, rising demographic. They are about to reach their peak, and if your brand hasn’t shifted to target this demographic, your brand is missing the boat!
Don’t believe me yet? Let’s take a look at that $44 Billion again with another consideration – the influence that Gen Z have on their parents. That $44 Billion now balloons to $600 Billion!

That’s a whole lot of spending power.

So who is Gen Z?

If you thought Millennials were complex, Gen Z is even more so. However, it is critical that we understand them because they are the current drivers impacting American Consumer Culture across more generations than ever before.

You can see their influence in trends you might not understand. I’ll admit that there are several I don’t even get. Remember when every teenager was wearing Uggz? Now it’s these clunky, white tennis shoes that are all the rage. I don’t get it, but it’s the reality. Keeping an eye on their interests are key, as trends in their demographic will likely point to what’s on the horizon for industries.

  • 8 Second Filter – Rather than attention span, Gen Z have an 8-Second Filter. They are constantly scrolling through seemingly endless amounts of information on a regular basis, but they will stop and check something out if it’s something they find relevant to them. Making it through this filter is crucial to garnering Gen Z’s attention. In other words, you as a brand will have to provide something engaging and satisfy their need for instant gratification.
  • Privacy – Privacy matters more for Gen Z, especially when managing their online reputation and personal brand.
  • Values – They are fundamentally moving towards more traditional values and tend to align themselves with brands who have a purpose.
  • Competitiveness – As opposed to Millennials, they are far more competitive. No participation trophies for this group.
  • Digital Natives – Gen Z are the first true digital.

Where can you reach Gen Z on Digital?

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YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the preferred platforms for Gen Z according to Pew Research Center. Important to note: The emerging platform TikTok, is on a meteoric rise as one of Gen Z’s favorite apps. Take a look at my other blog on the app for insights on the new app.

What is driving their purchasing habits?

  • Quality & Value – Getting the most bang for their buck
  • Fit with Personal Brand – Reflects with their own values
  • Peer Reviews – Asking friends, family and their network
  • Accessibility – Brands need to make their products and/or services available in a mobile-friendly, mobile-first fashion
  • Convenience – Products and services need to be available instantly or near-instantly. Thanks, Amazon Prime.

How does this information help you as a marketer?

Think outside of the box

This group is diverse and the way you approach them has to be creative, relevant and outside of the traditional marketing approach. Gen Z knows when they are being marketed to, so tactics need to be fluid.

Experiment with different channels and how you communicate with Gen Z for each touchpoint. You might have to have a different voice when it comes to Twitter, your Instagram page and your brick-and-mortar location. Think the Dolly Parton Challenge.

Pay attention to other Brands

Take a look to see who’s been successful reaching this audience and who’s falling flat.

A great case study to check out is Champion. A few years ago, they were considered as a simple, cheap athletic wear brand. However, they pounced on the streetwear trend and had several effective collaborations with relevant designers and influencers to become one of the more popular current fashion brands. Most notably Virgil Abloh’s OFF-WHITE, creating the OFF-WHITE x Champion capsule collection that sold out almost immediately.

Have a voice

Integrate your brand into their daily lives.

Gen Z pays attention to pop culture and appreciates brands like Wendy’s who often gives their edgy, colorful commentary and snarky takes on their Social Platforms. Some might think it’s too risky, but it’s memorable and Gen Z identifies with it.

Take A Stand

Having a purpose and actively stand behind it.

Nike is a great example of this. They put a stake in the ground and took the risk of speaking for what people believe in. Incredibly risky, yes. The payoff has catapulted Nike into a brand that transcends shoes and Gen Z aligns with that.


Tapping this market will is key for your brand’s long-term health. The sheer spending power of the demographic alone should make reaching Gen Z a priority. While there is no perfect recipe for reaching this group, your brand should take the risk to reach them. Experiment, be purposeful and provide content that is engaging and meaningful in order to get their attention.

Sources: Purchasing habits - - Fast Company - PEW Research Center