Generation Z- The Digital Babies
I recently learnt that being born in 1996 means I'm on the cusp between the Millennial generation, and Generation Z. This may explain why I can at times relate to one generation, and other times the other. However, I’ve always felt like more of a Generation Z member, perhaps because I grew up with technology from an very early age.
Generation Z as a target market have been analysed quite a lot lately, mainly for the insight of employers who want to hire them, or for marketers who want to sell them stuff. Obviously, I can only speak for myself here. However, I think I can provide helpful insight on the kids of Generation Z, from someone who (kind of) is one.
Being a digital baby
A few weeks back, I dug up an old drawing I had done in school when I was about 6 or 7 years old. Looking at it all of these years later, I realised that the lines and colours I had used closely resembled the drawings I used to do in MS Paint, which basically involved scribbling and then filling in the sections using different colours. This is when I realised that, for better or worse, growing up around computers had profoundly shaped the way I perceive the world around me, from creativity to communication and everything in between.
We work differently
I didn’t realise how advantageous the skill of intuitively understanding computers is, until I had to teach my mother how to write and send out some emails on her laptop. What was second nature to me was incredibly frustrating and difficult for her. Now, that doesn’t mean that my mother is out of touch, not at all. She’s a lot sharper and wittier than I’ll ever be, in addition to saving countless human lives throughout her years as a registered nurse. The only reason why computers are a breeze for me is because I had the advantage of being introduced to them from a very early age.
Basically, I’m a digital baby- most of Generation Z is. We can intuitively work with digital mediums better than other generations can, and we demand a certain level of efficiency from them as well. This also translates greatly into how we are at the office and what types of work we excel in.
According to Forbes’ Deep Patel, a few of the key ways in which members of Generation Z differ in the workplace are their greater need for security compared to Millennials, as well as their increased competitiveness. Other interesting facts to note are that Gen Z prefers face-to-face communication, as well as working independently as opposed to in a team.
George Beall of the Huffington Post reports that members of Gen Z also tend to have shorter attention spans and so prefer shorter snippets of information. Growing up in the age of information overload has also made us better at multi-tasking.
We buy differently
Generation Z differ from Millennials and older generations when it comes to what kinds of consumers they are as well. According to Ernst & Young’s Marcie Merriman, Gen Z has higher expectations for brands and products than Millennials do. This may partially be due to us being “digital babies”, born into a world of high-speed internet and 24/7 efficiency.
We have also been shown to be bargain hunters, seeking out the best deals and quality when shopping. I see this behaviour in myself for sure- one of my favourite activities is thrifting. Merriman goes on to say that Gen Z members “expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. If they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on".
Finally, according to Mallory Schlossberg of Kinston.com, Generation Z also appear to be less receptive to adverts. In a recent poll, 71% of Millennials said they saw an ad online for a store before making a purchase, versus only 59% of Gen Z. This makes sense when you think about it- if you aren’t particularly responsive by those annoying, repetitive adverts on TV and radio, remember that the internet is Gen Z’s medium of choice and that for us, many forms of tactless and pushy online advertising has already become trite.
In conclusion, Generation Z are independent, competitive and accustomed to a certain standard of efficiency and speed. Whether as workers or consumers, we’re setting the bar high and fiercely working toward creating a better world. Of course, not everyone born in a certain generation will have the same work personality or spending habits. However, we can get a good idea of how to market to certain target audiences by knowing which generation they were born into.