Many have probably never heard about the phrase ‘Generation Z’. What I’m sure of is most of you know the term ‘millennials’ also known as Generation Y – which refers to people born anytime preceding & up to the early ’90s. The generation coming after that is what’s referred to as Generation Z – the lower limit varies but on average it is people born from 1995 onwards. In case you didn’t know, this Generation Z is now the key driver of business conversions across the globe. In order to redefine your business strategy, you need to understand this demographic quite well.

Their Proportion Is Huge

Generation Z constitutes 32% of the total global population. Of the 1.25 billion people on the African continent, 70% are young people aged below 30. Locally, young people aged below 25 constitute approximately 62% of the total population. They hold the majority share of the population – they are the trendsetters. This means that any business looking to command a huge market share must place its primary focus on Generation Z.

Their Buying Power Is Increasing

Surveys indicate that the buying power of Generation Z is continuously increasing. On a global scale, this generation currently boasts of a buying power of approximately USD150 billion. By the time this year ends some reports project that between 35% and 40% of all global purchases will be done by Generation Z. Locally it’s apparent that a lot of young people now wield tremendous buying power. Even in instances where they are getting the money from parents or any other sources they ultimately make autonomous purchase decisions. What’s even more interesting is that at least 90% of the older generations say that their purchase decisions are determined by Generation Z i.e. children and relatives.

I have put into perspective why as a business you must tailor your marketing strategy to appeal more to Generation Z. Let’s look at some characteristics of Generation Z that can inform your business strategy so that they are attracted to your brand.

The Internet & Social Media Are Their Playground

On average they spend at least 50 hours a week surfing the internet or being on social media platforms. This means as a business you must have a robust presence on the internet (website) and on social media. Let me reiterate that your website must be optimized for mobile because over 90% of teenagers own mobile devices. For instance, 95% of people accessing Facebook do so via mobile devices.

Waning Attention Spans

Generally human attention spans have been decreasing but it’s even worse for Generation Z. Understand that the average human attention span has gone down from 12 seconds to 8 seconds over the years. For Generation Z it’s even alarming because the 8 seconds is even brought down by 50%. So if their average attention span is roughly 4 seconds it means you must create very engaging content for your marketing campaigns. This generation is very intolerant when it comes to shoddy or boring marketing content – if you don’t capture them in the first 4 seconds they will explore other alternatives. After all, the internet is awash with many options to choose from so you must be wary otherwise your competitors will outshine you. Ergonomic and aesthetic designs on websites or social media platforms appeal a lot to them.

Video Content Allures Them More

At least 95% of all people surfing the internet who access the YouTube platform are aged between 18 and 24. That same age group watches more video content on Facebook than any other age group. This means Generation Z prefer video as opposed to any other type of content. So if you really want to execute compelling targeted marketing strategies you must incorporate video content.

Research & Social Proofs Influence Their Conversion Decisions

I’ve already alluded to how Generation Z spends a lot of time online – that must tell you something. First off, it means that they do a lot of research online about products and services before making purchases either online or physically. In Zimbabwe where online purchases are still rare, conversions are still predominantly through visiting brick and mortar outlets. However, young people do research online before going out to buy so if you aren’t online you will be overshadowed by brands that are. Secondly, Generation Z is big on cultivating personal connections or interacting with others in social circles. They also look up to public figures and tend to emulate the lives of others online. This means as a business you must foster user-generated content and also use social media influencers to influence Generation Z’s purchase decisions. You must also ensure your online platforms aren’t one-way streets – be interactive.

They Expect Brands To Be Truthful, Relatable and Transparent

Young people nowadays are very opinionated and stand for something – thus your brand must be packaged in a way that enables young people to relate to you. Young people are quite big on truthfulness and transparency; if as a business you are not exhibiting that you’ll never win their hearts. Most young people have convictions and persuasions about what they expect from businesses, they are privy to their consumer rights and are very well-informed about things. You can’t easily deceive them because they are very inquisitive and explorative.

If as a business you are not yet online you are really disadvantaging yourself. From here onwards as we step into the future you can’t expect to build a successful business without being online & tapping into the influence & buying power of Generation Z. I would implore you to conduct surveys for your own business to understand the behavioural traits of this generation. Gone are the days of the millennials, Generation Z is now centre stage and calling the shots – so never forget them in devising your business strategy.