Tabbed by some as the “limitless generation,” it’s easy to see why brands are turning their focus to Generation Z. They may only be in grade school right now, but a study by Ernst & Young predicts that in just four years, Gen Zers will make up 40% of the country’s consumers.
So which brands are already experiencing success appealing to the next big consumer market? Before we answer that, it’s important to understand what teens are looking for in a brand.
Generation Z is the first generation consisting completely of digital natives. They have never experienced life without modern technology, so it’s imperative for brands to engage them online (92% are online daily and 24% are online constantly). They “browse” online, not in a store, so an enjoyable online experience is a must. They are captivated by over-the-top, in-your-face entertainment. Big personalities appeal to them – today’s teenagers want to feel like they’re interacting with another person, not a corporation. It’s also important to understand that Gen Z lacks a filter – they post whatever is on their mind, and share more about their lives and preferences than any previous generation.
Gen Z and teens care deeply about social issues and they refuse to associate with a brand that doesn’t represent their values.
Finally, Gen Z likes things. Millennials are much more likely to spend their money on experiences, but Generation Z spends theirs on products.
Now onto the brands that Gen Zers most trust. We conducted a survey of high school students nationwide, and asked them to name their favorite brands. There were two clear favorites:
We asked them to name their three favorite quick-service restaurants:
In-N-Out Burger: 42%
We also asked them to name three auto companies that appealed to them:
Mercedes Benz: 26%