Gen Z Will Outnumber Millennials Within a Year – What This Means for Retailers and Brands

By Kerry Young on Dec 6, 2018

Millennials will soon be outnumbered. According to a new Bloomberg analysis of United Nations data, Gen Z will account for 32 percent of the global population in 2019 compared to millennials at 31.5 percent.

What does this mean for the retail industry? After all, exhaustive energy has been spent on determining how to satisfy a millennial customer base. And while millennials will remain important, businesses and brands need to shift a few gears as Gen Z tips the scale.

Using 2000/2001 as the generational split, let’s take a quick look at some of the major ways Gen Z differs from millennials.

Gen Z vs Millennials – What’s the Difference?

Here’s the new reality for retailers: almost one-third of the earth’s 7.7 billion people will be those born since 2001. A Gen Z majority brings forth a group that is less ‘self-centered’ than millennials, looking instead for solutions and experiences they can contribute to.

According to “Rise of Gen Z: New Challenges for Retailers,” an Ernst & Young report by Marcie Merriman, “The key factor that differentiated these two groups, other than their age, was an element of self-awareness versus self-centeredness.”

Millennials were “more focused on what was in it for them. They also looked to others, such as the companies they did business with, for solutions, whereas the younger people naturally sought to create their own solutions.”

Gen Z is also:

  • Creative and innovative
  • Productive and ambitious
  • Realistic and self-reliant
  • Tech savvy and mobile focused
  • Global minded
  • “Always on”

On the flip side, they are also impatient and have high expectations when it comes to the consumer experience. In fact, they want to be part of creating the experience. Merriman points out that they expect businesses to “intuitively deliver on their constantly evolving needs.”

It’s a tall order.

According to the Rise of Gen Z report, “Successful businesses will adapt to this new norm and learn to thrive amid frequent change. This requires a habit of understanding consumers as human beings, understanding what drives them and providing them — repeatedly — products, services and experiences they can’t imagine living without.”

A Retailer’s Guide to Reaching Gen Z

Generation Z wields $143 billion in buying power. Retailers and brand manufacturers – you need a plan to stay in the game.

EnterWorks is providing a new e-book that details how retailers and brands can begin shifting their behavior and mindset to reach this unique generation. We discuss how businesses can formulate a strategy around data and emerging technology to quickly make an impact.

Click here to download the EnterWorks e-book, A Retailer’s Guide to Reaching Gen Z.

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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