As Market Researchers, we concern ourselves with people: their spending habits, their social tendencies, any piece of data that can give us a better understanding of consumers. Until recently, Generation Z (those under twenty-ones of the world) were of little concern to our practice. Their age made their market influence insignificant. However, today, Gen Z is estimated to have around $143 billion in buying power and influence around 93 percent of household spending. Needless to say, it is high time we start capturing data and feedback from these young people; as they grow, so too will their stake on the consumer economy.
The trick is, Gen Z-ers are somewhat elusive in our field because they are not engaging with traditional customer feedback methods. With such a lack of feedback, companies are finding it difficult to cater their products and services to meet Gen Z expectations. And yet, according to Accenture’s Gen Z report, 40 percent of the generation reports that they provide feedback often or very often. How is this possible?
Here’s My Take
As with most young people, Gen Z is quite eager to make their voices heard. They aren’t shy about pronouncing an opinion and they want brands to deliver products suited to their needs. However, they are providing feedback in new and creative formats, leveraging social media and on-the-go devices. Their hyper-digital, always mobile tendencies drive the ways in which they are willing to provide feedback. It is up to us to create feedback methods that complement Gen Z’s digital habits. Then we can capture, analyze, and act on what they are saying. For guidance, we must look to the data that is available.
Here’s What the Data’s Saying
- 75 percent of Gen Z has a mobile phone.
Gen Z’s world has always been digital—they grew up with iPhones in their hands and information constantly available via a simple Google search. They are on-the-move and powered by constant connectivity. In other words, they want information and communication whenever, wherever, and however.
Your Takeaway: The more you can do to allow Gen Z mobility in providing feedback, the more likely they will be to engage. If it is a survey you are releasing it must be short, easy to read, and mobile-phone friendly. It is also wise to allow for more freeform, unstructured data; Gen Z-ers want to give an opinion, but they do not want to be put into a box. Open-ended questions where they can type out, or even speak their feedback, will ensure more results. And modern technology like text analytics should be employed to break down this qualitative feedback.
- 74 percent of Gen Z spends their free time online.
This statistic is likely due to online shopping capabilities, streaming services and especially social media. Regardless of the online entertainment format, their online experience is bound to be entertaining. In other words, Gen Z web browsers are full of easily-digestible visuals (photos and videos), and they are often connected to several platforms at once.
Your Takeaway: We need to get creative with Gen Z—they don’t want to tick boxes and radio bullet surveys. Whatever the method of surveying utilized, it should incorporate multimedia engagement, visual stimulation, and easily-digestible content. Gen Z-ers want to watch a short video, even record a short video (perhaps in the place of free text) to provide their insight. And for the deepest insights, be original with what and how you are asking. Allow freedom to express opinions and even demonstrate how exactly they’re using a product through a video.
- 88 percent use Instagram and Snapchat.
71 percent say they use Snapchat more than six times per day. It is clear that social media drives the Gen Z experience. On the surface, this shows that the generation is obsessed with connecting digitally to one another and to their favorite brands. But digging a little deeper, there is more to learn from these platforms. For example, Facebook and Instagram constantly collect data on their users, so they can fill users’ feeds with specially curated content that is sure to please. Furthermore, Snapchat leverages location to provide in-the-moment “stories” and uses location tracking to connect its users. On the app, you can see almost exactly where another user is on a map and 90 percent of Snapchat users say they enjoy the GeoFilter feature.
Brands have figured out how to leverage such tools to sell their products, but researchers now need to figure out how to garner customer insights from them as well. Or at least, draw best practices from the platforms.
Your Takeaway: No feedback methods should ask users for information that has already been collected from previous engagements. Focus on curating your research to save Gen Z time and effort. To foster rich engagement, research methods should be driven by in-the-moment and location-triggered technology. Beacon devices are an innovative modern tool, especially valuable to retailers. This technology can track a customer’s pathway through a storefront using a Bluetooth to smartphone connection. If the customer stops at hot spot in the store, a push notification for feedback will pop up on the customer’s phone. This “ping” method of surveying enables real-time feedback and communication; in other words, it is a gold mine for customer insights.
Gen Z may seem perplexing initially: they are hyper tech savvy, opinionated, and always connected to their phones. But, knowing and leveraging these generational characteristics can play to your benefit. We can capture their essential feedback by getting creative and being open to new methodologies. In doing so, you will find a willingness from this generation to share and to be heard.
Read More: The Greatest Choice You Can Give Consumers