Some confusion exists surrounding the exact demographics of Generation Z, according to a recent article in The New York Times. But trend forecasters usually describe this cohort “as a roughly 15-year bloc starting around 1996, making them 5 to 19 years old now.”
Gen Z is comprised of around 60 million people, almost one million more than millennials.
Generation Z is “the first generation to be raised in the era of smartphones.” They instantly absorb information—but lose interest quickly.
Gen Z is “aware of their personal brand, and have seen older Gen Yers screw up by posting too openly” on social media. Consequently, they exercise caution and value privacy.
Also, this demographic has new attitudes on social topics like same-sex marriages and is more multicultural than previous generations.
As children of Gen X, those in Gen Z have grown up with safety concerns as many of their parents grew up in hardship during their formative years. They are sensible and like being “mature and in control.”
This week, an analysis of influential characteristics of a generation that already makes impact in their spending habits, job preferences, and financial choices.
Are you ready for Generation Z?
‘Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.’ --Aristotle
A PiperJaffray survey, “Taking Stock With Teens,” reveals this group displays growing views of economic betterment, although males are slightly more optimistic than females. “Even unemployed teens reflected consistently optimistic economic views to their employed friends.”
Learn more about teen shopping trends in a recent Business Insider article. Here note a contradiction in previous findings as Gen Z reportedly “cares about owning” and likes to shop online at stores that have a physical presence, although 36% say Amazon is their favorite retailer.
And, they like to shop via smartphones, making buying decisions with social media research discoveries.
Further, they like items they purchase to be in accord with personal values, have social cause, and signify “who they really are.”
‘You’ve got to grow up sometime.’ --Wynona Ryder
Research findings at Northeastern University show “Generation Z may be less focused on material gain… but it also has much less appetite for taking on debt.” Twenty-five percent “consider no amount of student loan debt manageable.”
This generation needs help with financial literacy. Eighty-five percent find it “extremely or very important for colleges to teach students practical skills like financial planning and saving for the future.”
Seventy-five percent do not have a 529 college savings plan, and 29% say their parents never spoke to them about saving for college. For 67%, a top financial concern is the affordability of college; 53% think government should assist in paying for their education “even if it means raising taxes.”
Generation Z is entrepreneurial: 42% believe they will at some point work for themselves and 63% want to learn entrepreneurship at college.
“This self-sufficient attitude leads them to be confident about their economic futures” (65%), although “61% believe that the gap between rich and poor ‘is harmful to my generation.’”
Sixty-four percent worry about finding a job. Six in 10 fear they will experience financial shortfalls.
“Get Ready for Generation Z at Work,” says CNN Money. This article agrees that Gen Z is entrepreneurial and is interested in growing technology skills.
Work-life balance is less important for Gen Z (40%) than Gen Y (54%).
Only 56% of Generation Z believes they will have a lifestyle better than their parents, the case for 71% of millennials.
‘Time scoots along pretty fast when you grow up.’ --Alan Ladd
Do you know “Why Teenagers Are Dictating Your Banking Habits”? According to TheStreet, this cohort’s “high-volume use” of mobile and debit cards “is changing the way all consumers use digital tools to handle their banking needs.”
For 74% of those age 17 to 20, debit cards are “essential” in comparison to 56% of all adults who think so. And, 41% of the younger group find mobile banking apps essential, true for 22% of others.
“When it comes to banking, the same desires exist across all age groups… The older generations just don’t quite realize it until they try it,” notes a financial manager. Younger groups set the pace, and older generations will soon join them.
Generation Z wants personalized transactions that can be quickly completed.
“That drive for expediency is the way that younger banking customers are forcing the industry to change—and bringing new players into the market to force banks to change.”
The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, reveals:
“Get Ready… Gen Z is About to Rock the Banking Industry,” says The Financial Brand. The younger set has big expectations of mobile services and “won’t be able to imagine banking any other way.” They will not have patience with financial providers “that don’t grasp their need for fast, easy, intuitive and personally relevant communications.”
And, most are happy with their “primary checking provider” as 82% express satisfaction with daily interactions, while 93% say debit services are “excellent” or “very good.” This is important considering the preferences they exhibit regarding debit transactions.
This might mean “trouble could be on the horizon for banks and credit unions” as switching financial institutions is less likely to occur when levels of satisfaction are high.
“Financial institutions that target Gen Z successfully could wind up big winners, while other(s)… find themselves sidelined, wondering how they will ever pry these consumers from their competitors clutches.”
“It’s not too early to start thinking about capturing Gen Zers as loyal members,” notes an infographic from the Filene Research Institute. “Strategies and solutions built around convenience, technology, and practicality will win over this emerging demographic.”
Are you ready to win by engaging with this young generation of important consumers?