“Sksksksk and I oop” …I recently overheard some teenagers say as they were carrying on in a conversation. What in the world are they talking about, I thought to myself?! Welcome to Generation Z (commonly known as “Gen Z”), defined as the generation to succeed Millennials. They range in age from around 4 to 24, depending on who you ask. This generation has an entirely new perspective on life, and we as researchers have to adapt in order to gain their valuable insight. Multiple articles from Forbes to the National Retail Federation have estimated that Gen Z spending power by 2020 will be at $44 billion – so brands simply can’t afford not to invest research dollars to understand and adapt. But how do we find them and speak to them about research studies?
When I first started out in market research way back in 1998 it was easy to reach this age group while they were hanging out at the mall on the weekends. With mall traffic on the decline and many popular stores not being able to survive our turbulent economy, we must look elsewhere in order to reach this generation. Where is that? According to a recent article I read, over 90% of Gen Z adults use at least one social media platform and of those, 50% report using social media almost constantly. As a recruiter trying to reach this generation on almost a daily basis, that can’t go unnoticed. With new platforms popping up, what seems like weekly, it is important to stay one step ahead of the social media trends and use it to our advantage while looking for our target audience. Knowing what platform to reach your audience on is an important part of the recruiting process. Looking for the 13-17 age group? Facebook is out, but Snapchat or TikTok may bring you much success. It may not take that much effort either as posts can quickly grow organically across multiple platforms.
Gen Z has the unique advantage of being much more informed about products and services than people of the same age 20 years ago. This makes the ability to hone-in on their specific interests very accessible and that can be extremely relevant in your research project. Of course, there are specific challenges when it comes to reaching these respondents. Studies show that social media has shrunk the attention span of Gen Zers to under 10 seconds and they are unable to focus for extended periods of time… which means we have to articulate the benefit of participating in research in a certain way to best speak their language. Gen Z’s love being entrepreneurial, sharing their opinions, discussing and debating new ways of doing things, and contributing to a larger cause – which makes them perfect candidates for quality market research.
Overall, I think we should be excited about what this generation has to offer and the exciting new ways we can adapt to gain their insight. For now, I am off to figure out what “Sksksksk and I oop” means!