KEY POINTS

  • Gen Zers, those born between 1996 and 2010, are the first group of consumers to have grown up wholly in the post-digital era. They're tech-savvy, heavy internet users, and mobile-first — and, most importantly, they have high standards for how they spend their time online.
  • Gen Zers are young and only beginning to flex their muscles as consumers, but they're already an extremely valuable generation to retailers and brands. This cohort's oldest members are employees, college students, or both, while their younger counterparts still live at home and drive spending there. Gen Zers hold an estimated $44 billion in spending power in allowance alone, and this figure will rise exponentially as they become the largest group of consumers globally by 2026.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Gen Z favors in-store shopping. Gen Z currently over-indexes at malls and has a distinct affinity for shopping at physical stores, but retailers will need to capitalize on Gen Zers’ keen interest in retail innovations and their digital expertise to keep them coming back through adulthood.
  • These young consumers have higher expectations for their online shopping experience than any generation before them. In 2016, 73% of Gen Zers made an online purchase over a three-month period, according to Amex and Forrester. But the majority of Gen Zers (60%) won’t use slow-loading websites and apps, and 62% won’t use hard-to-navigate apps, according to a report from ContentSquare.
  • Gen Z values quality more than any other generation. Quality is more likely to be a driver of loyalty for Gen Z, and it can serve as motivation to complete a purchase. A retailer or brand trying to connect with Gen Z should look to curate an image of quality and employ social media in a way that resonates with the young generation now to reap the benefits for years to come.

Introduction

Generation Z, also known as iGen or Centennials, is arguably the most pivotal generation to the future of retail. By 2026, nearly 60% of Gen Zers will reach adulthood, according to AT Kearney, giving this cohort substantial spending power. That means that retailers and brands need to start establishing relationships with Gen Zers now to ensure success in the years to come.

BI Intelligence defines Gen Zers as those born [...]