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Susan Burchill, 3rdspace senior writer and Rachael Sullivan, consumer behavioural specialist uncover key insights for understanding and engaging with Generation Z.
As the EY Megatrends Report 2020 notes, referring to Generation Z, “The next decade will be shaped by the maturation of the largest generational cohort in history.” This cohort of people aged 10 to 24 years old comprises 1.8 billion people, which makes up 24% of the global population.
The most diverse generation yet
As populations of the world’s leading economies become more elderly, developing-market societies have growing numbers of youths, leading to the fragmentation of population distribution across different nations. According to the Megatrends report, “India stands out with a population that includes 375 million people — 27% of which are Gen Z.” By contrast, Gen Z in Japan makes up just 14% of the population.
The Gen Z mindset on social issues can differ across geographies as well, with those in developing markets more socially conservative, as an example. “Companies will have to identify the important distinctions among Gen Zers to serve this global cohort effectively,” the report says.
Gen Z globally are united by one common purpose
Diverse as they are between countries, one of the core commonalities that unites Gen Z across the globe is their commitment to tackling sustainability. Gen Z’s fear of climate change is well-founded, with the EY Megatrends Report pointing out that nearly 60% of the Gen Z population lives in countries with a high vulnerability to climate change but low readiness for responding to it. This serves to intensify climate’s impact on this generation.
And in the top 20 Gen Z countries with coastlines, 121 million people currently live in areas that will be below high tide by 2050, while 252 million will be subject to coastal flooding by the same date.
This is likely the greatest contributor to Gen Z’s preference for buying products from manufacturers who protect the environment and have a sustainable supply chain. While Millennials made changes in their everyday lives to be more sustainable, Gen Z is taking global action. According to Parrys Raines, Senior Consultant, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY Australia, “Gen Z are the ones creating a movement to address the climate emergency by engaging with businesses and governments at the highest echelons.”
An insight into the mindset of Gen Z consumers
The Gen Z mindset is both a product of, and different to, every generation that has preceded it. As Parrys Raines says, “Young people in Generation Z are purpose driven, solutions focused, digitally connected, collaborative, and have a sense of urgency about issues that matter for the future.”
Appealing to Gen Z starts with ensuring a brand’s purpose is at the heart of the entire business and that leaders take ownership and responsibility for the impact this has on society and the planet. The next challenge is to pivot rather than disrupt to create cut-through.
As the world’s population makeup changes, marketers need to re-invent their approach by leading from the middle. This requires brands to adopt an impact statement and develop purpose-driven brand campaigns that purpose-driven consumers can identify with, and act on, in alignment with their own beliefs.
Unlike previous generations, Gen Z do not see consumption as a means to an end. They see it as a reflection of who they are and the impact they want to see. For brands to become trusted in the eyes of the next generation, they must connect with the values of Gen Z using content that promotes positive action.
3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help