How to Appeal to Gen Z Online
Generation Z — people born between the years of 1995 to 2015 — have been digital natives their entire lives. The exceptions are poor people, or those who grew up in an environment where net access was controlled, or not possible. The general idea when talking about Gen Z though is that it’s the first generation born into a world where the Internet is an integral part of life.
Today, in 2019, those in Gen Z are between four and 24 years old. In other words, the oldest of the lot is becoming a buying force to be reckoned with as it’s currently graduating from college and entering the workforce. For brands that target children and teens, as well as families to some extent, Gen Z already forms part of their buying force. According to AdAge, those in Gen Z “already control at least $50 billion in spending power, and by 2020 they will make up the largest block of consumers in the world.”
WP Engine recently did a study on Gen Z, which is what was partially published on AdAge. That study concluded that Gen Z influences as much as 93% of family spend.
The study also reached some other fascinating conclusions. One is that 40% of Gen Z respondents said they’d stop visiting a webpage if they did not anticipate what they needed, liked, or wanted. Amazon started this trend by suggesting what products you might like, given your browsing history, but Gen Z is taking this to a whole new level of artificial intelligence (AI). 38% of participants in the study even said they’d forgo privacy if it means that they could have a personalized experience.
And if you think that the 12 seconds millennials take to make up their minds about a website, or app, is short, Gen Z will give you only seven seconds!
What’s also interesting to note is that 47% of Gen Z thinks that websites will become more human and start displaying emotions. While that might not be possible in the sense that websites, at best, are AI-fueled robots, it’s important to note that Gen Z is looking for an emotional experience.
You may think that the generation that practically grew up with a smartphone in its hands would prefer apps to websites, but that’s not necessarily true. At least not when it comes to shopping. In fact, 61% prefer websites to apps when shopping.
This may seem contradictory, but the Gen Z generation probably cares the most about the human experience, in a way. In fact, 69% prefer to buy from socially conscious businesses. And while large corporations may have been the ones with power in the past, that could change. The online sphere has made it possible for the world to become more entrepreneurial again, with as many as 64% of Gen Z likely to start a business. It’s like going back to the days of unchartered territory and new lands to discover. But unlike in the past, people are no longer heading West -- they’re going online.
If you are a business owner, what Gen Z thinks about shopping is clearly relevant, given it’s about to dominate the buying force. So, what’s the lesson you need to learn?
First, the attention span of Gen Z is short, and you need to convince them in seven seconds or less to use your website. Second, you need a website, not just an app, for your shop, preferably one that can deliver an emotional experience and predict what the consumer wants, thereby personalizing the experience. Third, you better start thinking about being socially conscious in your business dealings. Last, you also have to consider that a lot of people in Gen Z will go on to become entrepreneurs, thereby opening doors for those who cater to business owners.
About the Author
Prashant Deorah has been leading digital strategy and marketing teams almost since the advent of the Internet in India. A passionate digital evangelist and entrepreneur , being one of the early digital entrepreneurs, Prashant’s experience runs the entire gamut of digital marketing activities – building experiential websites, leveraging the power of search, creating communities on social, connecting with millennials through mobile and driving engagement with content.
Prashant and his team of about 250 people have helped several government agencies build a compelling presence online, including MMRDA, CIDCO, Govt. of Maharashtra, MIDC. He currently heads web strategy for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s official web site – www.bjp.org– as part of the National IT cell of the BJP.
In the past, Prashant served as a contributing member of the Prime Minister’s IT Task Force, during Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee’s term. He was instrumental in framing the policy for hosting in India and the proliferation of the .in domain.