July 15, 2024
Are Gen Z and Millennial Consumers Really That Different?

Often grouped together as being the tech-savvy youngest consumer generations, Millennials and Gen Z might be more different than companies are giving them credit for.

To better understand the differences, a research report conducted by CM Group, the parent group of global marketing technology brands including Campaign Monitor, Emma and Vulture, among others, examined data around Gen Z’s motivations, behaviors and preferences. The goal of the research is to provide strategic ways for marketers to engage and drive Gen Z consumers into action.

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While CM Group notes that differences between the two generations have been stated before, understandings have been largely surface-level and hypothetical. And as a generation that has been particularly impacted over the past two years, Gen Z is standing apart from Millennials more than ever.

In contrast to Millennials, whom the company states represent a “generation of idealists who focus on sustainability and inclusion and are optimistic about the future,” Gen Z is more pragmatic. Gen Z, said the authors of the report, have become more practical and ambitious while putting a focus on education and success and using technology to get what they want.

Insights highlighted in the report include the supply chain being an essential part of marketing to Gen Z. In fact, in CM Group’s survey, 22 percent of Gen Z reported that a lack of transparency reduces their opinion of brands and products — more than any other generation. This cohort also ranks authenticity as more important (23 percent) than any other product or company attribute, including design or social impact.

At the same time, the way Gen Z gets information is different from older consumers. Notably, 49 percent of Gen Z said they get their news and information from YouTube and 23 percent said they share news and information on TikTok.

Gen Z is also more ad-adverse than other generations, they’re also the generation that is most likely to make a purchase based on an ad and 55 percent of Gen Z said they think the ads are the best part of the Super Bowl.

Notably, Gen Z is the most receptive to value-oriented messaging and tactics. They prefer native ads more than other consumers and are the least likely to object to companies having their personal data.

Compared to other generations, Gen Z expects personalized communications from companies and seamless experiences across all channels, online and in-person. With this in mind, “focus on consumer-centric marketing driven by zero- and first-party data and automated AI-driven personalization is the best way to reach Gen Z,” said the authors of the report.

To meet Gen Z consumers, the report’s authors said marketers must adjust their approach now. Suggestions offered to make a change include leveraging data to unify commerce experiences, adopting technologies that enable moving at the speed of the consumer, including logistics and supply chain considerations in customer experience planning, reimagining the customer experience, and defining sustainability with communication around it.


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