5 Mind-Blowing Insights into Mobile-First Mindset of Generation Z

Is your brand ready for Generation Z?

Generation Z, born between the mid-1990s and early-2000s, has an annual purchasing power of about $44 billion and it makes up about 26 percent of the population. More importantly, GenZ’ers are soon-to-be adults and the purchase decision makers of their households. It’s vital for companies to engage this generation now in order to increase brand loyalty later.

“Traditionally, brands love to target people in their teens, despite their lower purchasing power, because they want to lock in loyalty early in the game. However, the conventional wisdom now is that Generation Z is fickle, harder to reach and harder to lock in. As a result, there seems to be a lot of inaction inertia on the part of companies.”
– Keith Niedermeier, Professor of Marketing at Wharton

Generation Z may appear to be similar to Millennials, but it is a drastically different generation. They are the most diverse of any generation in the U.S. and were raised with the first black president in office. Tragedies such as September 11 and the Great Recession are a faint memory, and they don’t remember partying like it is 1999. 

“Because this generation is extremely ethnically diverse, they embrace diversity and they embrace differences. They are inclusive. They are accepting. This is a unique quality that separates them from prior generations, and a quality these prior generations will learn from Gen Z.”  Nancy Breiling Nessel, Founder of

Many GenZ’ers don’t remember a time before social media and got their first smartphone much earlier than older counterparts. In fact, the majority view receiving their first cell phone as a significant life milestone, right behind graduating from school and receiving a driver’s license. 


To help marketers better understand the digital behaviors of GenZ and how they compare to older generations, Google and Ipsos teamed up and produced Generation Z: New Insight into the Mobile-First Mindset of Teens. Here are 5 interesting and surprising takeaways from the report.


1. Social Media, Shopping, and Smartphones

This generation has little concept of what daily activity was like before smartphones, online shopping, and social media. Findings from the CNN study #Being13 revealed that some 13-year-olds check their social media accounts as many as 100 times per day. This introduces a massive opportunity for brands to cultivate authentic and memorable customer experiences through GenZ’s preferred social media channels. While older generations enjoy posting pictures and statuses for the world to see, Generation Z prefers to keep their personal lives “private”, with 56.4 percent using Snapchat. Snapchat allows them to interact with brands they love on a personal level as well as shop online if they see an ad they like.


2. Texting 2X Better Than Talking  

Generation Z prefers to connect with people via text messages more than twice as much as they prefer to interact with people in person. In fact, nearly 3 in 10 teens say they text people who are with them at the time. Companies can interact with Generation Z in their comfort zone – via SMS – by implementing a chatbot, live chat, or messenger bot that gives users a similar experience as talking to someone in a brick and mortar retail store.


3. Advertising Making a “Cool” Comeback

Teens are the only age group that said ads influence their perception of “cool” products. Gen Z’ers consider a product “cool” if their friends are talking about it, if they see an ad about it, or if it’s something personalized to them. With this in mind, brands can utilize interactive ads on platforms like Hulu or YouTube to further engage this demographic. It’s important to ensure the ads are personalized based on interests and compel the viewer to share the content with their friends.


4. Smartphones Reign Supreme

While they have access to multiple devices, smartphones reign supreme and are the most used devices for 13 to 17-year-olds. These teenagers represent an emerging online buyer power, with 53% of them using their smartphones to make purchases.


5. Online Video Killed the TV Star

Generation Z is watching 2.5 times more online video than TV, with 71 percent watching 3+ hours of online video per day. Marketers can get started by producing captivating video content that tells a compelling brand story and makes the audience want to learn more. After all, the best way to engage any demographic is to meet them where they are. 


In order to remain relevant and prepare for the growing buying power of this generation, you must have a deep understanding of your customers to not only create a compelling story but also to share it in formats and channels that they consume.

Learn how to create the right story, strategy, and systems with our latest eBook Transformational Marketing: Moving to the TopRight.

Click Here to Access the Guide for Transformational Leaders


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