Millennial Moms have been the focus of our attention for a while now, but smart marketers are already looking ahead to a generation of moms just appearing on the horizon: Gen Z.
Gen Z includes anyone born after 1995, so the oldest members of this generation are just starting to enter their twenties. Thanks to new research, we can already predict a lot about how to reach and relate to these future moms. And as the mother of a soon-to-be-11-year-old girl, I can attest to the accuracy of these findings.
They’re Large And In Charge
The first thing to understand about this new generation is its size and influence. Gen Z makes up one-quarter of our country’s population, and by 2020 they will account for 40% of all consumers. Even now, with most Gen Zers too young to make major purchases themselves, they’re exerting a powerful influence on their families’ spending. Indeed, 93% of parents say that their children shape their families’ spending and household purchases.
When I look at my daughter’s class picture, I see the changing face of American families. The last 30 years have seen a 400% increase in multiracial marriages, resulting in a 50% increase in the multiracial youth population since 2000. We can also expect to see a 7.6% increase in the Hispanic teen population in the next five years.
Households are also changing. Grandparents and Millennial siblings are moving in with Gen Zers and their parents, creating multigenerational living situations that result in more generous attitudes about sharing and greater respect for the elderly.
They’ve Been Shaped By The Economy
The trend toward multigenerational households is largely due to tough economic times – a big factor in how Gen Z kids look at the world. Fifty-eight percent of them are either somewhat or very worried about the future, with the economy topping their list of concerns. As a result, Gen Zers are resourceful and entrepreneurial, with 61% of high school students saying they’d rather be an entrepreneur than an employee (compared to 43% of college students).
They’re Talented Jugglers
Of course, some wonder if Gen Z kids have the focus and attention span to become successful entrepreneurs. While Millennials typically juggle three screens, Gen Zers use five: a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop computer, and iPod. My daughter almost always watches TV with her iPod in hand, and a smartphone and laptop are at the top of her birthday wish list. I get worried when I read that the average Gen Z kid has an eight-second attention span, so I’m resisting the proliferation of screens in our house – for now, anyway.
It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that Gen Zers have grown up surrounded by digital input, so they’re incredibly adept at filtering information. Once they decide something is worthy of their attention, they’re actually capable of intense focus. I’ve definitely seen this in my daughter, who will jump from app to video social network with amazing speed, then settle down to a single activity for an hour or two.
Speed is also the key to Gen Z communication. This generation loves to substitute emojis, gifs, and photos for words. When I read my daughter’s texts, I’m amazed by the language of abbreviations and emojis she’s created with her friends.
They’re Coming – So Get Ready
We’re going to continue to watch Gen Z as they head toward adulthood, making sure we fully understand their habits and preferences. But for now, marketers can keep in mind a few key tips for connecting with this large and influential generation: