Gen Z Marketing: A New Path To Purchase

Generation Z? Safe to say they’re more than just junior Millennials. This generation has a whole new set of expectations, attitudes, and subtleties different from any other. Here’s what marketers need to know.
by Brian Gee on June 22, 2022
Banner featuring the text "gen z online, a new path to purchase" with a young woman visible behind bold, stylized yellow graphics and icons like a lightning bolt and a megaphone, enhancing

While Millennials still hold the most purchasing power in the US, Gen Z is set to outpace them in the next decade (Business Insider), which makes reaching Gen Z imperative for marketers to succeed. Here at Simon/Myers, our focus is on helping our clients win at every stage of the consumer journey, whether physical or digital. While high-level Gen Z statistics abound, we wanted to dig deeper into every stage of their purchase journey to understand what truly makes them tick. 

It's why we conducted a proprietary study to understand where they’re purchasing, what matters most to them when purchasing, and what pitfalls marketers need to avoid. We performed a quantitative online survey across a sample size of 549 respondents, and also conducted qualitative video interviews with 15 respondents, all aged 18-25. While some findings were more surprising than others, one key takeaway was clear: successfully marketing to Gen Z is more nuanced than you may think.

Check out three of our key research insights below, and download our whitepaper for a deeper dive into our research findings!

Gen Z cares more about privacy than personalization

Personalization is a buzzy tactic these days, but for Gen Z, we found that they care more about their privacy being protected than receiving hyper-personalized ads. Highly sensitive to the data privacy breaches they’ve seen affect older generations, they’re concerned about how and where their data is being used, and many find hyper-personalized targeting invasive. 

Where to reach Gen Z depends on the product category

While emerging social platforms like TikTok are front-of-mind for marketers trying to reach Gen Z, we found that Gen Z is still researching and purchasing products across a variety of platforms. Ultimately, the best place to reach Gen Z is highly dependent on product category, with standard platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube still playing a significant role in some cases, and newer platforms like TikTok, Twitch, and Discord leading the way in others. 

Gen Z still cares about in-store shopping

Gen Z is often thought of as a generation of digital natives and online shoppers. While this is accurate, we also found that this doesn’t mean they don’t care about in-store shopping experiences. In fact, many Gen Z respondents indicated a desire to increase their in-store shopping coming out of the pandemic. They see in-store shopping as an opportunity to unplug, socialize, and find instant gratification, and marketers need to understand their preferences when designing in-store experiences. 

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