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Move over Millennials: Gen Z are the dominant influencers of tomorrow – and this is what they like

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Addicted to their phones, demanding Wifi detox, teetotal, vegan and gluten free: meet Gen Z, your new customers. And what they want from retailers is changing and you need to know what the next generation of shoppers are going to want from you. Luckily, a study by KAM Media can help.

Having quizzed 500 18 to 24 year olds – Generation Z – retailers should be encouraged to learn what they like, how they live and most importantly what their shopping habits are. So what have we learned?

Connected and concerned

A rather staggering 23% spend more than 7 hours on their phone each dayand 25% spend more than 7 hours online per day, finds the study. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Generation Z have the shortest attention span of any generation and tend to juggle as many as five screens at once when browsing online.

Is there a backlash coming though? Yes. According to the research, two in three Gen Z-ers are currently worried that they are spending too much time being ‘connected’.

We’ve already seen brands attempt to tap into this trend with social media detoxes and WiFi free zones  and the rebirth of vinyl record sales suggests a desire to go back to basics.

However, brands need to find the right balance. Without a presence within their ‘connected’ world, you won’t exist enough to make a difference in their ‘real world’ – negotiating this tightrope is perhaps the key to long term engagement and loyalty with Generation Z.

Veggie, vegan and vague

The report reveals a wealth of unique insight into who this generation are, their key values and what it is that drives their purchasing behaviours.

For example, only 59% are meat eaters compared to around 9 in 10 of the total UK adult population. It’s fast becoming a perfectly normal expectation amongst Generation Z to have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options readily availablein both stores and foodservice outlets.

What’s more, 87% of them believe that establishments that serve food should have nutritional information on their menus. 

39% also claim to be teetotal – more than twice the number of UK adults in general. However, government statistics show that liver disease and diabetes, alongside the number of young people seeking help for alcohol related problems in A&E departments is on the increase.

The underlying insight suggests a polarisation amongst the younger generation between those who abstain or drink significantly less than the recommended 14 units per week, to those who over-indulge.

What the experts say

Commenting on the release, Blake Gladman, KAM Media’s Strategy and Insight Director, said: “If you search the internet there is a lot of conjunction about Generation Z, some with facts and some without. One thing for sure though, is that a lot of people are talking about them, and with good reason. Gen Z will shape the way we shop, eat, drink and interact with brands, because technology will lead the way and it’s being driven by the influencers and no generation is more influential than Gen Z.”

Katy Moses, Managing Director at KAM Media adds: “This research can provide brands and retailers in the off and on trade with essential insight into what Generation Z want from them and how youcan deliver against it in order to ensure that you’re influencing the influencers and not being left in the past.”

Image: Fotolia

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