A Research-Backed Cheat Sheet For Marketing To GenZ

October 7, 2022
2 min read

In this article:

A quick-reference guide to reaching retail's most confusing demographic to date.

GenZ is hard to please. In fact, most marketing doesn't work with the generation. But for your brand's longevity, you'll need to learn to appeal to this demographic.

Why? Because Zoomers (what GenZ-ers call themselves) are on track to be the most economically powerful generation in US history. 

Currently, the generation holds $143B in spending power ($600B, if you include their pull on parents' spending). But they're projected to have $33T by 2030. (They'll pass Millennials' spending power in 2031.) 

And with the oldest members of the generation turning 26 this year, they're already starting to prove this purchasing power. 

But most companies can't figure out how to reach GenZs' wallets. So, here's a cheat sheet on what you need to know: 

Who is GenZ?

Born between 1996 and 2012, GenZ will be the most educated generation to date. 

They are also considered the "1st truly digital generation," having had access to the internet since infancy. Meaning, they have, in many ways, grown up online. 

What do they value?

Above all, GenZ values individuality. Zoomers see consumerism as a means of personal expression. So, brands that encourage hyper-consumerism tend to earn the highest favorability with the generation.

Why most marketing fails with GenZ

Zoomers have trailblazed value-led consumer trends. And as such, they expect their favorite brands to take a stance on social and policy issues. Then, they vote with their dollar. 

However, trend-chasing or performative activism (think: brands that took a stance on Roe v. Wade, then did nothing) won't work with Zoomers like it did with generations before them. GenZ has a strong BS filter and sees right through this. 

But if GenZ has to choose between an issue they care about and self-expression, they'll almost always choose the latter (Shein's $100B valuation is proof of this).

What are GenZ's favorite brands?

A recent Morning Consult study found that GenZ favors 4 categories above all: 

  1. Internet-based brands (like YouTube)
  2. Big box stores (like Target)
  3. Gaming companies (like Nintendo)
  4. Food and beverage companies (like Doritos)

And that Zoomers are most likely to form an unfavorable impression of a brand. (Gen Z's average favorability rating is 27%, compared with 33% for all US adults.)

That said, the brands GenZ likes, they typically really like.

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