Article Image - Think You Know Gen Z? Think Again (Part 2)

Think You Know Gen Z? Think Again (Part 2)

By: Hoffman York
March 2024

“Cap,” “sus,” “bet”… It takes more than just understanding how Gen Z talks to know what makes them tick. How this emerging generation behaves, where they shop, what they’re watching and how social media impacts their mental health are all things you need to know before trying to reach and engage with what is fast becoming the most important generation for marketers. That’s where our research comes in. To get to the bottom of this emerging demographic, we surveyed more than 1,300 Gen Zers -- aka Zoomers -- to tell us their likes, dislikes and views on life.  

Gen Z Unraveled

This is part 2 of the key findings and takeaways from our research. Catch up on part 1, if you haven’t already.  

  1. They shop wherever  
    The retail winners are far from settled. While Gen Z has a few favorites—Target (62%) and Amazon (60%)—they generally do not have loyalty to one retailer. They start with what, not where, choosing retailers that specialize in what they want (29%) and carry their favorite brands (43%). And while they prefer online shopping (56%), they also value the in-store experience to see and feel products (55%).  

    Key Takeaway: Gen Z is largely retailer agnostic and open to shopping online and offline. This presents a challenge when trying to close the sale. Retailers that can give them what they want and make it as convenient as possible will find their way into Gen Z’s hearts…and pocketbooks. 
  2. They’re up for new adventures 
    Gen Zers have done more traveling in the past three years than other generations (86%). They’re most interested in adventure travel (32%) and going somewhere their friends and family haven’t been (27%).  
    Key Takeaway: Destinations seeking a Gen Z audience need to understand that travel means something different to this generation. You must go beyond the touristy places to attract them. 
  3. They’re addicted to social media   
    Gen Z is on more social platforms than any other generation. Top spots include YouTube (88%), Instagram (81%), TikTok (80%) and Snapchat (78%). Gen Z is also the most likely to use social media as their main news source (42%), which may explain why they’re less optimistic about the future of the country and the most likely to say they feel social media negatively affects their mental health (29%).    
    Key Takeaway:   To break through and connect with Gen Z, marketers should consider using social media as a gateway to “in real life” experiences while keeping messages honest, relatable and uplifting. 
  4. They’re both influenced and influencing 
    Influencer marketing is alive and well, thanks in large part to Gen Z. One in four Zoomers say social media influencers impact the brands they buy. Gen Z is also tops among generations to say they are more likely to buy a product if an influencer/celebrity is using it (23%). Furthermore, as digital natives, Gen Zers are well connected and are more likely to show off what they have on social media (28%). 

    Key Takeaway:  Influencer marketing is not going away anytime soon, and Gen Z is making sure of that. Brands that want to influence Gen Z need to both foster relationships with Gen Z influencers and encourage Zoomers to share their thoughts and opinions about your brand.   
  5. They consume a lot of content in a lot of places    
    Gen Zers use more than eight different streaming services and are the heaviest users of Netflix (85%), Disney+ (71%), Hulu (66%), HBO Max (62%), Tubi (48%), YouTube TV (45%), AppleTV (42%) and FuboTV (27%). However, they only subscribe to 4.62 of them. Top programming includes food competitions (37%), talent shows (26%) and reality dating (25%). Notably, they are the least likely to watch live sports (26%) and news/opinion shows (12%). 

    Key Takeaway:  Gen Z consumes content everywhere, so marketers need a diversified approach, both in programs and platforms they advertise on. They also need to realize that appointment-based programming such as live sports are not as appealing to a new generation that has grown up watching what they want whenever they want.  

Gen Z is a complicated demographic to market to and they have a new set of expectations. Tailor your advertising and marketing efforts to appeal to their tastes and make sure you are authentic and deliver on your promises. Getting in front of Gen Z doesn’t have to be daunting. Hoffman York can help.  

Download the full report: Gen Z Unraveled: A marketer’s guide to understanding the misunderstood generation. Learn many more valuable insights into how Gen Z feels about themselves, employment and work, plans for the future, attitudes on brands and shopping, travel, social media and streaming habits.  

Say hello.