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Purchasing Power: Gen Z is Where It's At
By: Inc.
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Everywhere you turn, organizations are performing research and studies on our fascinating Millennial Generation. Businesses have worked hard to earn their loyalty and influential powers. It's been an enlightening and engaging journey, and now the focus is quickly turning to our Gen Zers.  While Millennials have had a major impact on how businesses think, act, and advertise, Gen Z may become the most influential generation in America to date.

This Barkley report estimates Gen Z's earnings to already be close to $153 billion, with overall spending of almost $100 billion. Once combined with allowance estimates (since many are in their young teen years), this yields $143 billion in Gen Z spending. And it doesn't even factor in the youngest Gen Xers who earn money by mowing lawns and babysitting. Considering that this Neilsen study shows Millennial spending at just over $65 billion, these numbers are staggering. Now factor in the Gen X influence on family spending and household purchases and there's a real wow-factor. 93 percent of today's parents say their children influence spending; it's time for brands to invest in a better understanding of this high-impact generation.

While research is still young, here's what those studying this cohort have to say so far.

They want to be heard and have the means to do it.

As YouTube stars, social media influencers, and reality TV celebrities with impressive stories of success, the media is already attracted to this industrious generation. They also rely heavily on online reviews and the opinions of online communities to determine their purchases. This group has a voice and the platforms to be heard, so marketers must guard their online reputations more now than ever.

Trust and authenticity are big for them.

Gen-Zers find it important to trust brands and 43 percent of them do trust many long-established brands. They want to see authenticity in marketing, including proof and a culture to back up claims of strong company values.

They prefer quality over quantity in social media.

This generation is vocal and influential; however, they do not feel they need large numbers of followers on their social platforms to have an impact. They prefer smaller groups of close-knit followers. This means that celebrity endorsements will soon go by the wayside, since only 19 percent admire something or someone because they have a mass following.

They value authenticity.

Authenticity and company values influence purchasing decisions for this generation. With 67 percent of those surveyed agreeing that "being true to their values and beliefs makes a person cool," and they feel the same about brands.


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