It’s time to focus on Gen Z

23rd December 2020

Gen Z is the latest generation among us, currently classed as anywhere up to 24 years old, they follow Millennials, usually classed in the 20- to a 40-year-old bracket. Gen Z are today’s core influencers who have a genuine impact on both millennials and Gen Xers in terms of what they buy today. The true scale of Gen Z remains to be seen in the next 10 years – however – it is their clear influence today that is changing how we shop in the here and now. 

#Millennials had been focused on corporate responsibilities and genuine values attributed to the brands they consider purchasing and Gen Z are pushing even further on accelerating this. They are prepared and willing to consider what is behind the scenes of the brand. What is its purpose? Is there something they are trying to give back to society? These values are increasingly important. A purchasing decision is no longer exclusively taken on cost, it is taken with consideration of societal values and status. 

As we see with the 4Ocean bracelets. Every 4ocean product purchased comes with a One Pound Promise to pull a pound of trash from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines. Every purchase helps fund the global ocean cleanup operation and supports a movement to end the world’s reliance on single-use plastic. That speaks to the new generation.

Typically, Gen Z are content in spending on luxury items. However, Gen Z do not see the luxury brand as a symbol or a message. What they are really seeking is something that shows their individuality in a positive way. If they happen to find this from a luxury brand, they are more than willing to pay the accompanying premium. For Millennials it is slightly different in that often they are in search of an item that will show them wearing ‘this brand’. 

Family and friends are becoming more and more influential to those considering making a purchase – compared to previous generations that were highly influenced by celebrity trends. 

The method Gen Z uses to do the search for their desired purchases has a much more in depth digital footprint compared to any previous generation. They absolutely use their phones to shop more than previous generations. However, they do not think of this as a new, exciting concept that they can use, the way that a lot of millennials and some Gen X may think about it. Instead, for Gen Z it is a tool that they have always had, and they do not know any different.

They are connected on so many channels that it is very simple to shop across all types of formats. This gives them instant access to pop-up boutiques, reputable e-commerce platforms, and then equally they could be shopping on #Instagram or other #socialmedia. 

Gen Z was born into a post-digital world that made technology the centre of their lives and not an accessory. Retailers have to embrace this idea quickly. Gen Z desires a store that embraces technology the way they do, making products accessible and easy to test, yet they still desire the luxury of human interaction when seeking advice. 

Gen Z wants an experience. If they do not get an experience that meets their expectations, they will move on.

For them, customization is a big plus. Having something unique contributes to their way of feeling special. With @CHAOS phone covers, we met their expectations. We turned cheap accessories into luxury products personalised with initials and a range of added-on accessories, which would evolve according to the season and trends. Like having a new phone every month and making it part of their fashion outfit.

We observe some new phenomenons since 2017. Nike ‘collaboration’ with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White brand. Abloh was already established in the design world and had a pre-existing relationship with #Nike (he assumed the role as the artistic director of the men’s line collection for Louis Vuitton in March-2018). Abloh’s collaboration would ultimately lead to The Ten, a collaborative exploration of 10 Nike footwear silhouettes. 

When monitoring the price of the Off-White VaporMax sneakers on StockX (an online sneaker consignment broker provides authentication), the price was hovering around $650, which is a lot of money to pay for a sneaker, most would agree. But, we observed that the shoe would continue to appreciate. If you are unfamiliar with StockX, it was founded in 2015 by Josh Luber, StockX is a self-proclaimed “stock market of things.” The website makes buying things like sneakers, streetwear, watches, and designer handbags safe and secure by acting as a middleman between you and the seller. You’ll find apparel from brands like #Supreme, Bape, and KITH, watches ranging from G-Shocks and Apple Watches to Rolexes and Omegas, and designer bags from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and more.

No matter what level of knowledge and enthusiasm you have for fashion, StockX is a fool-proof way to buy authentic styles in the resale market. #StockX is experiencing strong growth and just received 275 million dollars of new investment. 

As Abloh said after: “What we’re talking about here is larger than sneakers, it’s larger than design culture. It’s nothing short of state-of-the-art design. These 10 shoes have broken barriers in performance and style. To me, they are on the same level as a sculpture of David or the Mona Lisa. You can debate it all you want, but they mean something. And that’s what’s important.”

Everybody knew these shoes would be ‘special’ as Abloh was a successful designer whose style and use of everyday accessories to ‘dress up’ the shoe like the red plastic hang tag aligned with sneakers becoming a true ‘crossover’ #fashion accessory. But, what people didn’t know is how lucrative these shoes would become. Nike did their usual drawing for these shoes through its SNKRS app and at select flagship stores but of course, the chance of you being able to actually buy these for retail price was incredibly small. There is now a sneaker market & a “sneaker trade”.

Like in this previous example, rare products are becoming the real trend. The youngest customers buy to show on Instagram and snapchat what they own. Brands like Supreme which give access to a limited amount of items even if they could produce more are dictating the trend. “Rare” items are what Gen Z looks for, even if rarity in this case is artificial.

A new economy exists online: #Reselling online limited edition items is a real opportunity for them and also fun & thrilling.

Every #Brand needs to see the power of #Digital Influencers. They have a key role on social media, but also they are not the same people as before. They used to be actors, singers, musicians. 

Today, Top #YouTube #influencers are as popular as major celebrities. Influencers are more trusted as spokespeople than #celebrities. #Authenticity is the key trait people want to see in influencers they follow. Every brand needs to understand that the potential micro-influencer market is massive.

#GenZ feels that seeing their successful lives inspires them to do better in their own.

Please feel free to contact me to share your thoughts.

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