While learning to survive the challenges brought about by the global pandemic, in a time of political turbulence and unsure future, the new generations are adopting new behaviors using a whole set of new tools. The Generation Z, currently making up 40% of the global population, is a growing market that has been raised on the internet and social media, has a whole new set of demands and desires, and a real authentic interest for environmental and social causes.
“Many members of Gen Z have entered the workforce for the first time in 2020. The pandemic has given them a chaotic job market, leading many to wonder whether Gen Z’s much-anticipated consumer trends will take longer to develop. The anticipated trends include an overwhelming preference for ecommerce, high levels of consumer advocacy, greater health-awareness and the prevalence of plant-based diets.” 1
We tried to know more about the new generation and gathered some of the most relevant trends on the young consumers behavior that will impact all sectors going forward.
1 Marketline https://store.marketline.com/report/ml00026-011-003–generation-yz-new-retail-experiences-to-accommodate-new-tastes/
1. THE NEW SUPER CREATIVES
Armed with an arsenal of creative and digital tools, the Gen Z natives are leading the charge in digital artistry. With many people confined at home or still constrained in precarious situations, creativity is flourishing under quarantine.
In March 2020, virtual Art Academy’s new enrollments boomed. In April 2020, Apple released an ad showcasing how “creativity goes on” despite lockdowns. Artists and brands have been challenging people to create, and inviting them to join growing artistic communities. From April 10, Gucci invited famous creatives including Elton John, Dakota Fanning and Jane Fonda to publish original content across the brand’s channels in an effort to encourage creativity. On March 21, Dazed launched #AloneTogether, “a creative community in times of crisis.” 2
In the past eighteen months, digital creation has gone mainstream. People are turning to their devices not only to connect with each other, but also to create with each other. As digital creative output gains legitimacy and becomes more refined by the day, expect to see more sophisticated techniques and tools arise in line with the growing digital creativity movement.3
2 3 JWT THE FUTURE 100 20.0.20. https://intelligence.wundermanthompson.com/trend-reports/the-future-100-2-0-20/
2. GEN Z FINANCES
The financial future of the Generation Z, today’s teenagers and young adults, is set to prove challenging. Stil bearing the scars of the 2008 recession and enduring the pandemic crisis, it is very unlikely that they will have a better life stage than their parents. They will now enter the world of work and will need to learn to be pragmatic with their finances.
“I just don’t think we have the luxury to have dreams anymore.”, Katherine Hu, the New York Times (March 2020).
A Wunderman Thompson Data survey carried out 2020 finds that the level of anxiety in younger American citizens is significantly higher that the one of the older generations. That is not specifically linked to the effects of COVID-19, but it’s directly linked with the uncertainty for their future.4
On social media, a new category of youth-oriented financial influencers, the fin-fluencers, are giving advices to their peers on how to manage their spending and savings.
4 JWT THE FUTURE 100 20.0.20. https://intelligence.wundermanthompson.com/trend-reports/the-future-100-2-0-20/
As opposed to the Millennial generation, Gen-z demands authenticity, realness and imperfect but meaningful experiences.5
From the trends of body-hair and acne acceptance, to stop-body-shaming slogans, the unrealistic beauty stereotype that dominated the visual expressions of both advertising and media sectors has been challenged by the new movements for body acceptance.
The transition from televisions to computers to smartphones as primary media vehicles coincided with the replacement “perfect” brand testimonials with new influencers/creators. The new wave of content creators and digital influencers that is attracting and conditioning the young audience (and consequently brands), are freely revealing their complex personalities with authenticity and transparency.
5 F-Trends https://f-trend.com/consumer-trend-21#no-back
The world did not stop during the pandemic. We might have predicted that people, consumers, activists, would not rally and gather because the free movement was heavily restricted. Instead, we saw more powerful change than we have in decades – and with it, real change and demands for brands have increased. It is no longer an option to be neutral.6
Younger generations boldly called out brands and organizations that weren’t aligned with their mission or that were using performative allyship to reach consumers. The events of 2020 further established Gen Z as the next generation of activists and they are fueling social media to become the go-to platform for social causes and donations.
Gen Z is a highly conscious generation, aware of their surroundings and passionate about social, political, and environmental change. They never experienced a reality without a wealth of information and diverse perspectives at their fingertips. This generation has purchasing behaviors that are in line with their values, that is why they are more likely to support brands that they believe are making a positive impact.7
One in twelve parents reported that their teen has protested police brutality and racism. In a survey last year, 39% of teens reported that they “deeply care” about the impact humans are having on the planet, and 80% of teens reported that they feel pressured to save it.8
And according to brand-new research conducted by Refuel Agency, 59.3% of people under 25 cares about racial equality, 55% cares about mental health and suicide prevention, 46% cares about education, and 42% cares about preventing police brutality.9
- 6 https://www.voqin.com/trend-report-2021-the-future-of-social-responsibility/
- 7 Y Pulse https://www.ypulse.com/report/2021/01/13/causes-charity-activism-report/
- 8 Independent UK https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/teenagers-save-planet-world-environment-day-2019-climate-change-plastic-pollution-protest-a8945131.html
- 9 StudyFinds https://www.studyfinds.org/teens-protest-racism-police-brutality/