As the years pass from generation to generation, the world around us evolves, and we as people change the ways in which we interact within our society as we evolve alongside it. As new generations are born, their behaviors and experiences are unique to the time of their upbringing. Those born in the late 1990s to early 2010s are part of Generation Z, which puts Gen Z’ers at an age range between 11 and 26 years old. Considering the rise of globalization, and the rapid technological advancements during this time period, Gen Z’s relationship with technology is one that is considerably stronger than the generations before it. The use of modern technology and the commodification of the internet has changed the way our society operates, and opens the door to a new kind of market, E-commerce.
Although most generations at this point have had some experience using the online market, it has become a market preferred and dominated by Gen Z consumers. The modern Gen Z consumer is of a different variety than the consumers of previous generations. The rise of social media and the use of social media marketing puts businesses neck and neck to compete for the attention of the Gen Z consumer. Considering the multitude of retailers the internet provides, making your product/service stand out is the key to winning the dollars of a Gen Z’er.
The average Gen Z consumer is exposed to hundreds of product placements throughout social media every single day, and the use of internet cookies to track the data of an internet user make these ads much more targeted to their ideal demographic. The competition is virtually endless, which is why appealing to the Gen Z audience gives a company leverage against their competitors. A common behavior of the average Gen Z consumer follows the FOMO rule, Fear Of Missing Out. When products go viral on social media, it becomes a race against time before that product sells out. Viral social media posts heavily persuade the wallet of a Gen Z consumer. When a product becomes a hot commodity amongst Gen Z’ers, the product demand considerably increases as people become eager to try it for themselves and form their own opinions about the product.
Aside from the groupthink mentality, a viral social media post greatly expands a business’ outreach, and with that comes the responsibility of maintaining a good online reputation. Generation Z often looks further than the product at the surface, and values who and where their money ultimately ends up. Many businesses have created a bad online reputation for themselves by engaging in controversy, something that Gen Z consumers have little tolerance for. Many Gen Z consumers want to ensure their money is going to someone/something that aligns with their beliefs and values, and the vast e-commerce market allows the Gen Z consumer to be picky about where their money goes. Most companies can’t afford to turn away such a large demographic of consumers, which is why you see many companies putting in the extra effort to maintain a respectable online presence and do good by their communities to earn the business of a Gen Z’er.
The rise of social media apps like TikTok and Instagram implement e-commerce marketplaces within the app itself. This puts heavy emphasis on the social media presence of a brand. Brands like these often engage with their demographic on a more personal level, making the consumer feel more personally connected to the brand, as opposed to the distant relationship a corporate brand has with their demographic. By directly communicating with their customers, the merchant earns consumer trust and allows the consumer to feel as though their opinion matters as a patron. Which in this market, it really does. Of course, not every Gen Z consumer operates the same way, but there is a rising trend in Gen Z consumerism, and the more a company can relate to their demographic, the better.