Preparing Retail for Generation Z


By Patrick Kerns

Move over millennials, as Generation Z comes of age, they are becoming a force for change in retail. Generation Z is composed of everyone born after 1995 and is expected to number more than 2.6 billion individuals around the globe by 2020. This generation, like millennials, is very focused on the ease of using mobile devices or having an online presence. Generation Z has never known a time before the internet and mobile devices, and as a result, they view a connected, seamless experience as important.

The National Retail Federation and IBM’s Institute for Business Value recently conducted a study on this emerging group, which holds $44 billion in buying power. The study found some insights that all companies should be aware of as they look to tap into this increasingly important group. The insights from the study are:

  • 73% of Gen Z use their phones primarily to text and chat socially with family and friends, but members are willing to extend their conversations to brand relationships.
  • 36% would create digital content for a brand; 42% would participate in an online game for a campaign; and 43% would participate in a product review.
  • They have no patience for hard-to-use technology and demand a seamless mobile/digital experience.
  • 62% will not use apps or websites that are difficult to navigate, and 60% will not use apps or websites that are slow to load.
  • Gen Z knows personal information is valuable to retailers, so members want to know how brands are using it and how the information will be protected.
  • Fewer than 30% are willing to share health and wellness, location, personal life or payment information; 61% would feel better sharing personal information if they knew it would be securely stored and protected.

As companies look to develop or enhance apps and web experiences, retailers should be focused on these factors that are important to Generation Z. Companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Snapchat, Facebook and others increasingly look to tap into this data and either enhance an existing retail presence or build their own retail experience.

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