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A Day in the Life of a Gen Z Consumer

Mon, Apr. 17, 2017 | By: Tremor Video


Want to learn more about Gen Z? Check out our infographic and white paper from our proprietary study, in partnership with Hulu, about Gen Z & CTV.  


By the year 2020, Generation Z will account for more than 40 percent of all American consumers, representing a global population of around 2.5 billion. But how much do you really know about this enigmatic demographic? As the first generation of digital natives, Gen Z — which we'll define as consumers born in 1996 or later — is distinct, from their behavior to their attitude and media preferences.

Let's take a look at what makes this generation tick by spending a day in the life of a Gen Z consumer.

Mobile-First and Video-Centric
When she wakes up on Saturday morning, the first thing that 14-year old Sara does is reach for her smartphone. Like many of her friends — as Google reports — she got it at the age of 12. Now, she can't imagine living without it.

Before she even gets out of bed, Sara checks out Instagram and Snapchat, both of which her generation visits several times a day according to research firm Kantar Millward Brown. She'll also open YouTube and Facebook, which are some of her favorite social sites. Over the course of the day, Sara will spend more than three hours watching video on her phone, as Google notes many teens between the ages of 14 and 17 do. That's even more time than Sara will spend on messaging apps.

Experience Over Personalization
Sara is Hispanic; 47 percent of American Gen Z kids are ethnic minorities, making this the most ethnically diverse generation yet. She has what Joline McGoldrick, vice president of insights and product marketing with Kantar Millward Brown, has called a "unique sense of self." Sara's not nearly as interested in personalization as her millennial cousins, because she finds it "intrusive." What really matters to her is trying things out for herself, along with understanding the story that brands have to tell.

When Sara is out of bed, she spends several hours hanging out with her Gen X parents and catching up with online content before setting off on a mission to find the perfect product. Next week she'll be going on a field trip with her school, and she's in the market for a new backpack. Her dad has suggested that she research her options. Most likely, she'll make the purchase on her phone, as Google has found that more than half of Gen Z consumers are mobile shoppers. That isn't to say Sara doesn't sometimes buy in-store, though. Research from IBM and the National Retail Federation reveals that 98 percent of Gen Z consumers also shop in brick-and-mortar stores.

Marketing on Gen Z's Terms
After lunch, a friend of Sara's sends a text message inviting Sara to her house. Once she's there, they discuss her desired purchase and search their mobile devices together. Sara comes across an interactive video ad that lets her explore backpacks from all angles. She doesn't like "invasive, interruptive online and mobile formats," according to Kantar Millward Brown, but the interactivity is right up her alley. It also helps that she prefers branded content in a video format, and that she's more receptive to advertising in the afternoon.

Generally, Sara is likely to skip an ad three seconds faster than her Gen X mom, but this one is presented in the context of music — something else Kantar Millward Brown has found Gen Z prefers. So Sara clicks. The retail site it takes her to offers video demos of its products. Partial to short content, Sara watches, consults with her friend, and decides this is the backpack for her.

Later, she'll ask her mom to make the purchase while they're relaxing in front of the TV at home. TV ads appeal to Sara's generation, Kantar Millward Brown says, because these consumers generally perceive TV commercials to be exciting, interesting, and high quality. Tomorrow, when she's online again, though, Sara will find a 360 degree ad for Coca-Cola that she'll perceive as visually engaging as well.

Sara and her peers aren't always easy to read. But get to know them and their media preferences, and you'll make a Gen Z consumer's day.


Want to learn more about Gen Z? Check out our infographic and white paper from our proprietary study, in partnership with Hulu, about Gen Z & CTV.  

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