Commentary

Common Thread Links Gen Z To Baby Boomers: Approach To Money

We got the chance, in early April, to share some of the most recent findings from the "We Are Gen Z Report" at the CMO Summit sponsored by PRWeek and Hispanicize. We co-hosted a panel where one of the topics was the similarities between Baby Boomers and Generation Z.

It doesn’t seem as if these two landmark generations would have much in common. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and range in age from 53 to 71. They could be the parents or grandparents of Generation Z, which is now the largest generation in the U.S., comprising 26% of the total population at 81 million people.

Gen Zers were born between 1995 and 2005. Presently, this group represents those ages 12 to 22. 

But we are finding more interesting parallels between Gen Z and other generations as subsequent waves of the "We Are Gen Z Report" are released. This cross-cultural study continues to peel back the layers on the most ethnically diverse generation in the United States. 

One important factor to keep in mind for both: Gen Z and Baby Boomers are children of a recession. For that reason, we get a real sense of just how pragmatic these generations are and how careful they are with their money.

We know Boomers have money as they head toward retirement. But Gen Z has money, too. Estimates put the spending power for Gen Z at $44 billion. Add their influence on parental spending and that number climbs to over $200 billion. 

But they are careful with their money, based on their responses to questions from the Gen Z study.

When asked if they wait for a sale to go shopping, 63% of Asians answered “yes” followed by 50% Hispanics, 47% Whites and 41% African-Americans. Gen Z also shows us that while they are materialistic, they are not impulsive. Hispanics led in saving for an expensive item at 74%, followed by 69% of Whites and 67% for both Asians and African-Americans.

We also learned that Gen Z invests time before making a purchase. They make sure to do research and have all the facts before committing their funds. These digital natives told surveyors they see ads as useful to learn more about new products, particularly among Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians.

As marketers, we must lead with emotion to grab the attention of this audience, but quickly fill in with substance to court Gen Z. Make a compelling case if you want to get Gen Zers to part with their money.

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