Generation Z: buyers of the future

Generation Z is also known as the “digital generation”. Its youngest members are still in schools. Those at the other end of the spectrum have received their university degrees and are already “embedded” in the world of business. Bilderlings has explored the peculiarities of this digital generation, since it is now the largest segment and the future of global online commerce.

Members of Generation Z (1995-2012) boldly improve on, or even radically depart from what previous generations have done before them. They feel absolutely comfortable on the internet and take full advantage of its benefits. It’s like oxygen to them; it is far easier for them to communicate via gadgets and social networks than in the offline world, where, by their way of seeing things, their predecessors from generations X and Y were too often stuck.

Generation Z chooses cryptocurrencies, not fiat currencies, prefers contactless payment devices – smartphones with wireless technology like NFC, and “smart” bracelets and rings that allow the user to make a one-touch payment. For these people, the main thing in life is a fast internet connection.

Everything goes online

According to a nationwide survey carried out in the U.S., 44 percent of Generation Z check their social media accounts at least once an hour and 7 percent do so more than once every fifteen minutes.

According to the “generation theory” created by sociologists William Strauss and Neil Howe, the representatives of Generation Z are called the “New Silent Generation”. We are talking here about people who in the world present as being “muter” than in the online space. These are “digital natives”, and their activities take place almost entirely online.

In American writer David Stillman’s book “Gen Z @ Work”, young people are described as “unlike any who have been before them”. Life outside of an operating system doesn’t have the highest value for them. They see the world “through the gadget’s window.”

A good catch for online merchants

Representatives of Generation Z often refer to the “X” and “Y” generations as “digital migrants of the XXI century”. The latter two generations are “real cavemen” – in their childhood there were no iPhones and other devices, while Generation Z held the first smartphones in their tiny hands, lying in their cradles. And it’s this latter group who is not just a very important e-commerce target group, but a rapidly growing one as well.

The aforementioned David Stillman talks of the “Phygital” (Physical + Digital) world – integrated communications at the junction of digital and physical spaces.

Some speak of it as only a new technological instrument. Others believe that the entire market is now entering a new era of development. And there are those who see in phygital the sign of the birth of a new civilization, a philosophy of a completely different world order.

At the one-click distance

It’s easier for a person to send an email than to call; it’s easier to make an online purchase, than to leave the house and go to the shop “around the corner”; and it is more convenient to work, not in the office, but remotely.

Generation Z is breaking down the barriers between the real world and the virtual one. Practically unlimited amounts of information are available from their laptops’ screens, tablets, smartphones and wristwatches; everything is close by, at the distance of one click or touch.

Earlier, Bilderlings described mechanisms for increasing conversions in e-commerce and the average purchase price, such as cross-selling and one-click purchases.

To explore offline but buy online

According to Criteo data, 75 percent of Generation Z prefers to make most of their purchases online. Two out of three young people visit brick and mortar stores, but usually only to look at one or another product, take a picture and then buy it online.

None of the above turns Generations Z into a set of binary codes. To attract this category of buyers, online merchants still have to use techniques from the real world. For example, to attract young people using various types of advertising, including offline, to set fashion trends, delegating this task to marketing specialists, and, finally, to deliver goods purchased in the virtual world, using real logistical and transportation techniques.

But here again, Generation Z differs from “X” and “Y”. For example, the former is less opposed to advertising per se, assuming of course that it comes across as credible.

Interactive journey with the help of VR and AR

Online stores around the world are beginning to use Augmented Reality technology to attract attention to their product and boost online sales. Indeed, it’s one thing to visit a brick and mortar store and touch and try out the product, and another thing to make purchase online based only on a short description and a couple of photos.

For many buyers, this is akin to “buying a cat in a bag”. As a remedy, the visual side should be maximally appealing, so the interest in complemented and virtual reality is not surprising. With a VR headset, online shopping turns into interactive 3D travel.

Money goes online too

Payment methods for Generation Z are not limited to plastic bank cards or digital wallets. For example, among the young members of Generation Z, various types of cryptocurrency are popular. Earlier Bilderlings wrote about Gram cryptocurrency in its blog.

Internet banks, though still an important segment for young people, are increasingly receding into the background, giving way to faster and more modern systems and platforms.

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