13 Jun 2019

Generation Z Characteristics and Buying Behaviour

Generation Z is the generation after Millennials, it includes anyone born after 1997. By 2020 there will be over 2.5 billion people in this generation, so they are on track to becoming the largest generation of consumers ever.

Generation Z currently account for somewhere between £22 billion to £112 billion in direct spending, but their influence on consumerism does not step there, with 93% of households claiming that this generation influences their family and household spending. Their main areas of influence can be seen below.

Generation Z Characteristics

What do they Spend their Money on?

As the generation is still maturing their spending preferences can be broken up into two parts. Generation Z consumers aged 16 and over are most likely to spend their money on clothes, beauty products, car expenses, groceries, experiences, and eating out. The younger side of the generation prefer to spend their money on toys brands, clothes, games, movies, and food.

Political Stance

Generation Z are a very diverse cohort, even more diverse than millennials. They are very comfortable with complex sexualities and gender identities and will have more friends and partners from different races. Due to the greater access to large volumes of information on the internet, Generation Z characteristics heavily revolve around their social responsibility. They are more aware of modern day challenges such as climate change and terrorism and they want to see change. They expect brands and retailers to have similar beliefs to themselves and won’t spend money with those that do not.

Marketing Preferences

Generation Z can sift through large volumes of information ignoring everything they find irrelevant - including advertisements. They are constantly multitasking, so they want brand advertising to be transparent and they value simplicity. They are constantly monitoring multiple situations, so they want a seamless flow between products and information

Generation Z


Generation Z care more about brand names and purchasing with the intent to be happy than any other generation. Spending money is a big driver for their happiness, so they tend to have higher spending power than other generations. They are more willing to purchase an item that gives them a certain image, and they care more about being perceived as successful. They lean heavily on brands that help them craft their identities. This is partly due to growing up on social media in the public eye and the pressures to constantly look and feel their best.

Online Behaviour

You can’t discuss Generation Z characteristics without looking at their online behaviour. They are the only generation that have been brought up solely in a technological world. They are very comfortable with technology, if not dependent on it. Generation Z is constantly connected, they shop online, they participate online, and gather information online. Brands and retailers looking to connect with this generation need to establish an online presence, hybrid retail is one way of doing this.

Looking for more retail insights, industry trends, and buying tips? Read our Millennial Buying Behaviour piece or visit Autumn Fair and take part in our free workshops and seminars.

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