Aug 16, 2018

Marketer's Guide to Generation Z

While the constant, unceasing, relentless targeting dialogue in marketing circles tends to revolve around reaching millennials, what about Generation Z? Those ages 6-24, born between 1994 and 2012, are increasingly becoming more financially influential in America.

Targeting Gen Z may actually be easier than you think.

While Millennials, Gen Y, and Gen X transitioned from low- or no- technology to our current media overload, those in Gen Z have always been multi-screen oriented. According to Millennial Marketing’s Futurecast report, the Generation Z population is predicted to account for $29-$143 billion dollars in direct spending into the economy by 2020 -- meaning they'll command nearly 40% of all consumer shopping. This number doesn’t even include all the things Mom and Dad are buying for them. In fact, Gen Z may be the largest consumer generation in history according to this report, if not just simply because they are regularly inundated with advertising and have numerous methods to purchase.

By 2020, Gen Z will command nearly 40 percent of all consumer shopping.

If you want to reach the newest generation of influential shoppers, you’re going to have to rethink some of your marketing strategies. But first you need to spend some time getting to know them and what makes them tick. 


What are they buying?

It’s essentially pretty logical. Top categories of purchase include: Food Away from Home, clothing, accessories/personal care, video games, cars and electronics.  Obviously it depends on the age as the older Gen Zers (16+) are in a different stage of life than the younger Gen Zers. Yet, one fact is consistent with both... they are also influencing household purchases (up to $200 billion) in products like technology, food, health and wellness, fashion, and even home goods. 



 Gen Z is just like the millennial generation right?

How does Gen Z differ from Millennials? According to Forbes, Gen Z is more interested in personal success than the millennial generation. For other generations Millennials have become stereotyped as the: “oh it’s cool bro”, “yeah do what you want man”, “I just want to be happy” generation, while Gen Z’ers seem to be more interested in traditional values and conveying the right image.


The Truths About Gen Z Consumers 

  • They grew up with 24/7 access to information.
  • They are true digital natives and spend a lot of time on line.
  • They tend to have shorter attentions spans.
  • They care about social impact.
  • They are open-minded.
  • They see identity as fluid.


Media Habits

Gen Z has basically grown up on smartphones, tablets and other portable devices that enable 24/7 connectivity.

So, it shouldn't surprise us that Gen Zers spend 74% of their free time online and they spend more time on their mobile devices than any other generation.

16-24 year old's are spending an average of 11 hours a week on their mobile. This age group also spends 23 hours streaming video content per week. 



Find out more about the media habits of Gen Z with our free research guide. 


Where are they?

According to the Claritas Consumer Concentration report from June 2018, the Gen Z population is more likely to be in these Designated Market Areas than other areas in the U.S. 

DMA Index
Lafayette, IN 141
Laredo, TX  131
Harlingen et al, TX 128
Lubbock, TX 125
Salt Lake City, UT 125
Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX 123
Bakersfield, CA 121
Idaho Falls et al, ID-WY  120
Fresno-Visalia, CA 119
El Paso et al, TX-NM 118

How to Read: Lafayette, IN DMA is 41% more likely to have members of its population classified as Generation Z than any other DMA in America


To Sum It Up

Based on these attributes, a successful Gen Z margeting campaign would focus on traditional, success-oriented, dynamic creative which shows easy-to-use, innovative products, with a diverse group of actors appearing professional and friendly. With short attention spans, it is best to market to Gen Z with visual, bite-sized content. Also, make sure your online & mobile sites are user-friendly and easy to navigate. 

The campaign would be most successful activated in the listed DMAs above (the top 10 indexing market areas in the U.S. for those aged 6-23). And, finally, a multi-screen (multi-media) advertising mix would be most successful to reach this techno-affluent generation.

Sources: Millennial Marketing, Getting to Know Gen Z, January 2017; How Much Financial Influence Does Gen Z Have? Forbes, Jeff Fromm, Jan 10, 2018; Claritas Consumer Concentration June 2018.

Topics: Marketing Insights

Marc Elmore

Written by Marc Elmore

Marc Elmore works as a Research Coordinator for Viamedia. Marc has 20 years of marketing experience in media and related fields.

New Call-to-action

Stay Updated:

Get marketing insights, guide-books, tips and more.

Subscribe >