Gen Z Consumers: Reducing the Complexity

Discover Gen Z’s unique perspective and motivations through their evolving demographics, complex identity, and actionable Group Traits.

February 27, 2023
Lauren Goldberg– Analyst

Gen Z is an important and dynamic U.S. consumer cohort. Their population is aging up into careers and their economic power is growing. So, brands have to step up their engagement of this influential (and not-so-young-anymore) consumer group to grow with them into adulthood. In other words: Now’s the time!

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Gen Z Consumers: Reducing the Complexity presentation.

Gen Z Consumers - Reducing the Complexity - deck sample

This powerful study explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research: demographics, identity, and Group Traits to help your brand authentically connect with this generation of Americans.

Key Insight #1: Evolving Demographics

Gen Z is dramatically more diverse than older generations. They’ve already reached a 50% multicultural total threshold and are far more likely to identify as LGBTQ+. Their diversity and prioritization of inclusive marketing provides an exciting window into the future of the entire country.

Gen Z is the first generation to be 50% multicultural

Do This:

Lead messaging with Gen Z’s diversity: don’t tell one generic story, tell varied stories that capture the many ways Gen Z express their identity.

Key Insight #2: Complex Identity

As a generation, Gen Z is the least satisfied with how they are portrayed in advertising. In fact, MOST Gen Zers aren’t happy with how they’re being shown in ads.

Gen Z least likely to be satisfied with portrayal in media

Do This:

Expand beyond only speaking to Gen Z’s racial and ethnic identities and highlight their complex, intersections of identity. How do you do this? It starts with inviting Gen Z to lead your content creation.

Key Insight #3: Collective Individuality

Gen Z has internalized an openness to uniqueness, both their own and others. Greater diversity and more tools for finding content for every taste and interest has created a boom in individuality. What’s different from older generations, though, is the unifying power of their differences.

Gen Z rewards brans celebrating individuality

Do This:

Toss out ideas of identity that typify older generations. Celebrate how Gen Z’s identity is built around a collective acceptance of each person’s unique combination of many intersecting characteristics and rest assured in the robust halo effects that flow from telling real, specific stories.

Key Insight #4: Game-Changing

Gen Z believes in their ability to impact the world, and they focus on the future as an antidote to the harsh realities of today. Frustration meets urgency as Gen Z takes on the mantle for necessary change.

Gen Z Feel Disconnected From America

Do This:

Be future-focused and highlight how your brand and company are investing in the future now. Externally promote internal company policies and practices that Gen Z cares about with the same vigor as product-based messaging.

Key Insight #5: Pressured

Gen Z sets a high bar for themselves, and the scourge of comparison on social media only magnifies this pressure to meet their own ideals. It’s hard to be a game-changer and Gen Z is feeling the effects of so much potential.

Gen Z Are Always "On" the Internet

Do This:

Rescue Gen Z from the comparison dilemma by celebrating their unity in uniqueness. Speak to their stress with empathy and gravity.

Other Gen Z Consumer Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Picture of Lauren Goldberg

Lauren Goldberg

Lauren is an Analyst on Collage Group’s Cultural Insights team. She recently graduated from University of Michigan, where she studied psychology and entrepreneurship. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys trying new restaurants in the DC metro area and keeping up with the Washington Capitals.

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