Considering Gen Z: Best Practices to Research a Younger Generation (Part 1)

W5 takes special interest in crafting research approaches that meet the needs of specific consumer groups of interest. In this three-part blog series we will examine how best target and understand Gen Z in research studies, a consumer group considered the future of the global economy. In today’s post we will look at why Gen Z is of interest to the market research community and why it is important to consider how they engage with the world when designing research studies.

What's next for Gen Z

In the market research industry, we are always balancing between “now” and “next,” carefully considering how to communicate with consumers, engage their minds, and capture their feedback with effective methodologies and approaches. For many years we have focused on understanding and communicating with Millennials, not exclusively of course, but admittedly this generation has occupied a large portion of our mental landscape.  Millennials possessed a great deal of buying power and represented a huge share of wallet for many brands and products.  But now it is time to consider the next generation, those next in line—Generation Z.

As researchers we are curious about this generation for multiple reasons. First, much current research about Gen Z cites them as a “disruptive” generation—consumers who will think, communicate, and interact with the world around them somewhat differently than those before them. This is largely accredited to their role as digital natives and constant connection to a “supercomputer” of information. Second, we still do not know where Gen Z will ultimately land in money management, big life decisions such as buying a home, or the trajectory of their careers. They are a generation still forming…a mystery of sorts. While we know they have experienced economic crisis and war (like Millennials), their course is not set in stone and has been complicated further by recent world events such as COVID-19 and social upheavals. Lastly, Gen Z makes up about 26% of the global economy and by sheer numbers alone, should not be ignored.

While “Zoomers” represent a span of ages, from five to twenty-five years old, as a group they represent immense purchase power with different levels of influence and ultimately, are projected to eclipse Millennials in size leading to an inevitable “changing of the guards.” While we cannot make any definitive claims about Gen Z and who they will be as consumers (remember, they are still developing), we can seek to understand ways in which they have experienced the world and explore what that means in the context of research design. Stepping into the shoes of the consumer and seeing the world through their eyes is a solid approach to crafting research studies in general, as it aligns the researcher with consumers’ mindsets.

Stay tuned for our next entry in this three (3) part series. On Tuesday, August 4th we will explore the influence of technology on Gen Z and how “hyperconnectivity” shapes their world view.

This thought-piece was developed from conversations with key vendors and web and book-based research from the following resources:

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