Gen Z Values Will Shift Commerce and Media

At the turn of every year, our inclination is to make a list of top trends to watch. Yet, there are some trends that are undercurrents and reveal over time. They are value-based shifts which yield cultural changes and affect business as we know it. No need to wait for December 2019 — earmark Gen Z values as signals of change.

Here’s an A.T. Kearney report noting that Gen Z is turning away from social media and in fact stepping into brick and mortar stores. According to this study, 81% of Gen Z prefers to shop in stores, and 73% like to discover new products in stores. A Gartner study provides further support suggesting that marketers look for Gen Z in second tier social media networks. They don’t like branded, crowded digital spaces.

Gen Z is picking up the baton from millennials and raising the bar. This is more than a preference for conscientious shopping from green brands. It’s a firm ‘no’ to pushy, canned marketing. Earning Gen Z’s trust and loyalty will take more than banner ads. Marketers will need to rely on the fundamentals: good product/service, positive experiences and a pledge to do the right thing.

Trend to Watch for 2020 and Beyond

When discussing futurism with a colleague, he said he didn’t believe in predictions but relied on history. Fair. I also think we do not need to make lofty call outs to see how our future might shape but rather pay attention to the shifts happening now.

Demographic changes constitute a fundamental fray in the way populations will change their purchase , media and voting habits among others. With Gen Z emerging as the most diverse generation with pronounced socially-conscientious values, we will see a diversity in consumer choices as well. Expect a surge in new flavors from different cultures, blended products, willingness to pay a premium for the ‘right’ service (e.g., those who provide equal and fair pay to their employees) and green votes.