Not Child’s Play: The economic influence of Generation Z

A new generation of consumers is growing up quickly and has increasing economic influence. This cohort immediately follows Millennials, but they’re vastly different than their older peers. Meet Generation Z.

Gen Zers are those born between 1995 and 2010. The oldest members in this generation are just turning 21-years-old, some are getting their driver’s licenses and the youngest are still in elementary school.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently conducted a study of this generation to help brands understand how these young consumers impact the family wallet. A few noteworthy themes emerged in what motivates Gen Z and how this bears on their spending power.

First, this generation grew up during the recession. Accordingly, they really care about the value a product, service or experience as much as the quality. While two thirds of this generation noted quality is the top factor in choosing brands, just as many (65%) want to get a lot for their money with discounts, coupons and rewards programs.

Gen Z was raised in a family democracy with parent consulting their children before making decisions. Parents seek their kids’ opinions on purchases specifically for them such as toys and apparel as well as family choices such as where to eat and vacation. 70% of Gen Zers surveyed influence family spending and their parents agree. The NRF shares, “Of the more than 1,000 parents of Gen Zers surveyed, 67% said they get their child’s input before making a purchase.”

 Lastly, Gen Z is the first set of true digital natives with technology ubiquitous to their upbringing. They’re accustomed to the urgency and connectedness of having never known a world without the Internet. Perhaps this is why 98% of Gen Z survey respondents make their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. There is no lull between an online order and shipment delivery. The immediacy of a brick-and-mortar transaction allows Gen Zers taking home their purchase instantly. 

With the back-to-school season approaching in the coming months, the target shoppers are members of Gen Z and their families. This NRF survey offer insights to inform Gen Z marketing for this critical retail season.