6 Gen Z Traits Brands Need to Know

Are you targeting Gen Z?  If not, you should be.  They are the youngest generation of new consumers with an astounding $360 billion in disposable income. They also have a huge influence on the habits of other generations.

In fact, about two-thirds (68%) of adults around the world say that teenagers and college-aged people influence where and how they shop.  This is according to a study by Edelman.


(Image Source: Marketing Charts)

Gen Z also influences adults in other areas of brand engagement including:

  • How I buy online and through apps (67%)
  • How I give brands negative feedback (62%)
  • How and where I talk to brands (62%)
  • How I connect with brands on social (57%)

6 Gen Z Traits Brands Need To Know

Gen Z is the generation born between 1997 and 2012. As the first true digital natives, they’ve grown up in a rapidly changing world, shaped by technology, cultural shifts, and evolving social norms.

1. Digital Natives and Social Media

Gen Z has never known a world without smartphones, social media, and the internet. They are incredibly tech-savvy, using digital platforms for communication, entertainment, and education.

Stats to Know: 34% of Gen Z social media users follow at least one brand they use or are considering using in the future. Gen Zs are actually more likely to follow brands (34%) than influencers (30%) on social media. When it comes to product research, 69% of Gen Zs turn to Instagram while just 46% use TikTok.

Tip: Meet Gen Zers where they are by investing in an online presence, including mobile-friendly websites and active social media profiles. Utilize social media and e-commerce strategies to reach Gen Z where they spend most of their time.

2. Diversity and Inclusion

Gen Z is the most diverse generation, embracing cultural, racial, and gender diversity.They are highly sensitive to issues of social justice and expect inclusivity and representation.

Stats to Know: Gen Z, more than any previous generation, believes that brands should address diversity and inclusion. According to a study by Quantilope, while 76% of Zoomers consider this extremely important, just 46% of baby boomers and 63% of Gen Xers place the same amount of value on it. Millennials also value diversity and inclusion, with 72% saying it is extremely or very important.

Tip: Embrace diversity in your advertising and workforce. Highlight inclusivity as a core value of your brand. Engage in meaningful conversations around diversity and social justice issues.

3. Values-Driven

Gen Z is passionate about social and environmental causes, seeking brands that align with their values. They are more likely to support businesses that actively contribute to positive change.

Stats to Know: When asked about their concerns on a variety of social issues, 44% of Gen Zs said they were concerned about climate change — the highest percentage on any issue. 43% are concerned about racism, 41% about gun violence, 40% about police brutality, and 38% about pollution.

Additionally, Gen Zs buying habits reflect their environmentally-conscious views. 71% have purchased at least one article of pre-owned clothing. 61% recycle regularly. 57% believe in the importance of buying from brands that do good for the environment.

Tip: Align your brand with social and environmental causes that matter to Gen Z. Show your commitment through transparent practices, sustainability initiatives, and charitable contributions.

4. Individuality and Self-Expression

Gen Z values authenticity and celebrates individuality. They are more interested in expressing themselves than conforming to traditional norms.

Stats to Know: A report from OCAD University revealed that 73% of Gen Z believe they need more self-expression to live a happy, healthy life.  With social media being such a prominent part of Gen Z’s life, this is where they socialize and are able to express their unique identity.

Tip: Encourage user-generated content and engage with Gen Z’s creativity. Allow them to personalize products or experiences. Celebrate uniqueness in your marketing campaigns.

5. Financial Prudence

Gen Z is budget-conscious and tends to compare prices and seek deals. Brands offering quality and affordability attract their attention.

Stats to Know: Of Gen Z, 52% say that money has a negative impact on their mental health. (Bankrate’s money and mental health survey)

Over half (52%) of Gen Zers say the biggest money concern that negatively impacts their mental health is inflation and rising prices; 54 percent cite paying for everyday expenses.

Tip: Provide competitive pricing and discounts where possible. Clearly communicate the value of your products or services. Offer loyalty programs or rewards for budget-conscious shoppers.

6. Brand Loyalty

Gen Z is more likely to switch brands if they perceive a company as unethical or not aligned with their values. Building trust and fostering brand loyalty requires authenticity and consistency.

Stats to Know: Among Gen Zers with a favorite brand, more than 50% would switch it up if another brand were cheaper or of higher quality.

30% would “revert to their ‘go to’ brand for a new product or service” when making purchases, and a whopping 62% said they would check out other options, even if they have a favorite brand.

Tip: Build trust by being authentic and consistent in your messaging and actions. Address any concerns or controversies promptly and transparently. Showcase your commitment to shared values.

Gen Z is reshaping the marketplace. Appealing to this generation is not just a choice but a necessity for brands aiming to thrive in the future. By understanding this generation and aligning with their characteristics and values, brands can not only meet the demands of today’s consumers but also position themselves as forward-thinking leaders in an ever-changing market landscape.

Interested in exploring more resources on Gen Z? Check out our podcast – 2024 Marketing to Gen Z: Appeal to Partnership.

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