SEO Account Director, Jade Taylor, went to a talk and panel discussion on Gen Z by We Are Social and Boiler Room on Thursday the 9th of May. Both companies had conducted separate research in the hopes of understanding this new generation of consumers – some of which are now entering the workforce and earning their first pay cheques in full-time employment.
Boiler Room conducted a global survey with around 5,000 respondents – making their research the qualitative part of the project. We Are Social interviewed far fewer, so were aligned with the quantitative input. They spent a lot of time with people within this demographic – meeting their friends and families, seeing their rooms and really getting to know who they are and what makes them tick.
The findings were covered in an opening talk, prior to the panel discussion, which featured people from TiKTok, Dr Martens and representatives from both companies that conducted the research.
Who are Gen Z?
Gen Z is made up of people who were born roughly from 1995 to 2010. They are the first generation of true digital natives – growing up when computers and mobiles have always been commonplace.
What did the research show?
- Generation Z are more fluid than any other demographic, this includes sexuality and creativity.
- They are often contradictory in their beliefs and behaviours – comfortable understanding and seeing both sides of an idea.
- Unexpected and interesting collaborations excite them, such as the Pogba and Stormzy collaboration for the footballers Man U signing.
- There’s a preference for smaller and more intimate gatherings – more dinners and going to each other’s places vs nightclubs.
- Physical momentos are valuable to them, in a transient digital era, they like something they can hold and feel.
- Older demographics hold on to their digital identities, whereas Gen Z is quite happy to constantly be changing theirs. Millennials tend to use social profiles like Instagram as a diary of past events and moments, but Gen Z’s are quite happy to delete their profiles and start again to represent who they are at that point in time.
- Multiple Instagram accounts were the norm – their public profile and their Finsta one. The Finsta (Fake Instagram) would have a different name which they would only give to their closest friends. They see their Finsta accounts as a safe space for them to be more authentic with their friends, instead of the glossy public profile everyone else saw. To give someone their Finsta details was a big deal and showed a lot of trust.
- Experiences were hugely important. If brands want to connect, they should look at how they can create real world entry points.
- This generation are big learners – from teaching themselves new languages via apps, how to play the guitar from YouTube, and everything in between. They don’t want brands to dumb things down when talking to them. They want brands to be honest, visible and specific in their communication. If a brand isn’t being honest or if they’re trying to hide something, expect them to be called out on it.
- They still follow and trust influencers, but that stops when an influencer gets too big in their eyes. They prefer nano to micro level ones as they feel they are more authentic and trustworthy.
Find out more in We Are Gen Z.