Brands must project progressive views on gender to appeal to ‘Generation Z’

While a lot has been made of how to market to millennials, connecting with ‘Generation Z’ – those born in the mid-1990s and early 2000s – is all down to brands proving their progressive views on topics such as gender and creating mobile-friendly content, according to a new report from The Innovation Group.

The Happiour app can be used by friends to share daily deals from their favourite brands.

The survey, which drew from 1,000 individuals aged 12-19 from both the US and UK, found that 82% respondents do not care about sexual orientation and, with 88% of those surveyed saying they’re exploring their sexuality more than in the past, there is also a clear dislike towards gender stereotypes in commercials.

Brands looking to cater to young people from ‘Generation Z’ would also be wise to embrace mobile-ready content, according to the study, with 86% of respondents using their smartphones multiple times a day and 70% watching more than two hours of YouTube content a day.

However, traditional channels still appear to be popular among the age group too, with 67% preferring to shop in physical stores and 69% watching over two hours of television daily.

“Generation Z is intelligent, confident and – importantly for brands – they question the prescribed norms of everything from formal education to gender politics,” says Lucie Greene, worldwide director of the Innovation Group.

“For brands to reach this group, they will need to understand what makes them tick and come to grips with these nuances.”

In the US alone, ‘Generation Z’ accounts for over $44bn in annual purchasing power, according to Greene.

She concluded: “Brands mustn’t underestimate Generation Z as teenagers or put them into boxes related to gender or anything else.

“The internet is too often classed as a utility, like water or electricity, and words like ‘online’ are problematic as this group is always connected; there is no offline anymore.”

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