Think You’ve Figured Out Millennials? Meet Generation Z

By Kari Johnson, Director, Client Success

Mobile technology is now commonplace across all generations. Everyone from toddlers to grandparents are constantly fiddling with mobile devices and, for retailers, this means having to find new and effective ways to integrate mobile into marketing strategies and the overall shopping experience.
Generation Z
For some, this means creating mobile-only experiences, such as Sephora’s Pocket Contour Class, a mobile makeup tutorial that provides customized recommendations based on each user’s unique facial features. For others, this means having a tightly integrated mobile loyalty and payments strategy, such as Starbucks’ loyalty and payments app, which each week processes four million mobile payments.

The Next Mobile Generation

There has been a lot of talk about the general transition to mobile, especially when it comes to the digitally native millennial generation and their need for a unified multichannel shopping experience. And with good reason – this important segment of shoppers will account for one third of all retail spending by 2020. However, there has not been much talk about Generation Z – the millennials’ successor, representing consumers born in the mid-90s to the early 2000s  – a segment of the population that was born into a mobile world. This generation is currently entering college and, for the first time, will be making their own spending decisions – independent of their parents.

The average college student or college family plans to spend $899 on back-to-college shopping this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), and mobile will be a huge factor. More than three-quarters of college shoppers own a smartphone, and for the first time, more than half own a tablet. This year, NRF found 41 percent of college shoppers plan to use a smartphone to research products and compare prices, and 46 percent will use a tablet to shop. College shoppers are also planning to complete purchases on mobile devices: 31 percent plan to buy products with their smartphones while 35 percent plan to use their tablets, the highest in survey history.

As we’re in the thick of back-to-college shopping and preparing for the critical holiday season – one that is projected to rake in $885.70 billion (source: eMarketer), it’s crucial that retailers pay close attention to how Generation Z is shopping and how the experience can be personalized for this increasingly important segment. This generation was brought up on mobile technology, is highly informed and ready to take charge of their own future. Retailers and marketers alike need to find ways to build loyal relationships with Generation Z and to find new ways connect with them through mobile to ultimately win them over.

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