Madrid, 8th May 2018
With Millennials being the most studied generation in history, Generation Z, those born in the late 90s and early 2000s, are still the great unknown for many brands and agencies, despite being on the verge of becoming an audience with unprecedented spending power.
Indeed, there are currently already 1.7 million 16-20 year olds alone in Spain and within the next couple of years Gen Z is set to globally usurp Millennials, representing approximately one third of the world’s population. However, in general, Spanish marketers have neglected getting to know this mysterious demographic with its new-found spending power, so we decided in April to gather brands and media in our Madrid offices together to share with them our insights into Spain’s Gen Z consumers.
Drawing from the M&C Saatchi Risk, Realism and Ritalin study, which addresses the expectations, interests, consumption habits of Gen Z, we presented three main things every marketer in Spain needs to know about this audience. Take a look below.
1. Permanently connected, digital natives
The Internet has always been present in their lives, so they have not had to adapt to digitalization like the predecessor generations.
Gen Z, or ‘Post-Millennials’ as the report calls them, cannot imagine a time when smartphones did not exist, despite their young age and the price they have in the market. Moreover, 3 out of 4 have a mobile at their disposal, while 24% are online almost constantly. One of their main uses of mobile is to share content through their social networks. For them, it is not only important how they live, but how others see them in the online world. Arguably, we are dealing with one of the most self-conscious generations; they worry about the image they project on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or even Twitter. They want to be seen as active, busy people, and if something is not on their profile, it has not happened.
2. Uninformed and without interest in politics
Despite being the generation with the greatest access to information, and all at its fingertips, Gen Z is informed mainly by brief catchy headlines via their main distribution channel – social media. This means as a group they have vague ideas of many global issues, however, they don’t seem to dig deeper into the news, making them extremely susceptible to ‘fake news’.
For the same reason, they are apathetic towards politics. They do not delve deeper and it does not occupy a place among their priorities. Research also shows Gen Z find it more difficult to take action, since they do not have a common causes with which they can as easily identify with, to mobilize and fight for. Traditional beliefs and ideologies do not connect well with Gen Z.
This disinterest can be countered by marketers with simple and novel ideas that are directly related to daily life. Applying simple and direct methods could achieve a higher participation rate in an election. For example, 66% of young people would vote in elections if they could do it through the Internet and 44% admit that they would be more likely to vote if they reminded them with a text message that day.
3. No big dreams in sight
Because of the recession and economy, Gen Z is the first generation who from an early age have had to worry about their future: they find it difficult to find work and to be able to afford a house, so they do not trust the ‘traditional’ paths their parent’s took to achieve success. This makes them small dreamers who are more competitive and more concerned with the consequences of their decisions than Millennials.
70% also believe that they will have to work harder than their parents to achieve a similar standard of living. They are convinced that any topic or work that does not add value to their CV is dispensable, so that subjects such as History of Art, Philosophy or History of Ancient Civilisations do not interest them, since they are not practical for the life that they have to live .
Their dreams are limited to a small house and a stable job. And 71% consider it important to find a stable job as soon as possible. Moreover, according to Accenture, 89% of Gen Z graduates are willing to relocate region for a job offer, and 93% would consider an unpaid internship if a paid job is not available.
To summarise, we could be understand Gen Z as ‘middle-aged adolescents’. Safety prevails and risks are measured and managed. In this generation we don’t find the traditional tropes of spontaneous, frivolous adolescents who make mistakes, as we have in past generations. Now, Gen Z is formed by serious young hustlers, anxious about the future and managing a lot of pressure on their shoulders.