Generation Z (often abbreviated as “Gen Z”) is a generation of people born in Poland after 1995, who are currently entering the labor market and, which, unfortunately, does not have a good press. They are also called a Zombie generation (hence "Z" in the name) because they do not know the world without the Internet. They are described as those who "fly to the screens like moths" and "are addicted to technology". It is the generation focused mainly on communication via the Internet.
The first thing that Gen Z does in the morning, is checking on the phone the application that has the most notifications. According to a study conducted by Infuture Hatalska Foresight Institute and Dentsu Aegis Network for the report "GEN Z- How to understand today the generation of tomorrow”(“GEN Z- Jak zrozumieć dziś pokolenie jutra?”), the first computer, which they receive on average at the age of 11, is a smartphone. More than half of Gen Z uses mobile applications, but only those, which are also used by their friends or acquaintances. Generation Z uses the Internet mainly for the entertainment purposes, for example, to establish social relations with others.
But what are they really like? Are they really locked in the world of Internet? How do they treat money and how do they spend it? In this article, I will cite a few myths and try to interpret, based on the available research and publications, the way of thinking of the new generation, which I am a representative of.
Contacts in the real world and its perception
There is a stereotype that the representatives of Generation Z limit encounters with people to a minimum and that the real world is a gray, terrible place for them. However, they are more traditional than we could expect. Love and security are the most important values for them. According to the report "GEN Z", only for 26% of the surveyed representatives of Generation Z, the digital and physical world constitute one reality. Nevertheless, they feel that the physical world provides them more stimuli. As many as 54% of the respondents declared that they feel a big or very big need to establish direct contacts with other people in the real world based on the CAWI survey conducted in January this year for the need of the "GEN Z" report. A significant part of the meetings of the Generation Z representatives are meetings outside. The most popular meeting places are parents' houses (24%) or shopping malls (16%). Only 10% declared that they meet with friends online.
Portals like Facebook are not as popular among them as among the Millennials. Gen Z prefers mobile applications such as Instagram, Snapchat or Youtube. Meanwhile, Facebook is a major embarrassment for them. They protect their privacy, which is why they prefer anonymous portals such as Whatsapp, which is strictly used for conversations.
According to the report "How does the Generation Z buy and consume"(“Jak kupuje Generacja Z”) prepared by Accenture and FashionBiznes.pl, within a few years Generation Z will become the most important group of consumers on the market. This is why companies should focus their activities today on learning about their behavior and building a strategy that meets the requirements of this group. Especially because it is so different from previous generations. The majority of Gen Z representatives buy more than half of their basic
purchases online. It is assumed that in the coming years their purchasing process will be based on personalized experiences, built by reliable communication, while the transaction itself will take place in the background.
Expectations towards brands-that is the best future strategy for the key consumer group
The study report "How does the Generation Z buy and consume" dated April 2019 disclosed what the Generation Z consumers stand out from, what they pay attention to comparing with older generations and what expectations they have towards other brands.
The most important for Gen Z are:
- brand authenticity - brands should be transparent and authentic with their activities. Generation Z is oddly enough the most critical one, compared to older generations,
- ethical and ecological responsibility - representatives of Generation Z strongly adhere to values and, therefore, they expect the same approach from the companies. They are interested in information about the methods and places of production of a given item/object, or the origin of materials used in its production,
- process automation - self-service checkouts or online shopping are mostly used by younger people, due to the ease with which they move in the world of technology,
- availability of products - both the availability and the speed of delivery are important here. Gen Z appreciates brands that bring products earlier than the competitors and those who offer an express delivery option. Younger generations - both globally and in Poland - are more willing to pay more for faster delivery than older users,
- innovative solutions - the most important is an experience. Gen Z enjoys trying new solutions, like for instance the virtual fitting of glasses. They are looking for brands/stores/ places where they can experience something more, such as Nike + Basketball Trial Zone New York City or Gallery Melissa Shoe Shop London,
- joint shopping - for Generation Z walking through shopping malls is an extension of experience from social media. Shops must be attractive enough so that spending time with friends could be a way to develop their contacts. As mentioned before, it is one of their favorite meeting places.
Saving and spending vs Generation Z
There are big differences between Millennials and Generation Z in the context of money and its spending. Based on BIG InfoMonitor and BIK data from 2019, it was calculated that total debt of people between the age of 25 and 35 exceeds 6.5 billion PLN.
Generation Z is much more pragmatic about the finances than its older colleagues. Even though the deposited money of this generation does not stand for any enormous savings, the need for saving itself is there and it is a result of the values and needs of this generation. On the one hand, it is a generation of the 2008/2009 crisis and the times where nothing is certain and the economic situation is still unstable. On the other hand, they live in times with infinite possibilities. According to the report "GEN Z", the average monthly amount they have for expenses and pleasures is from 51 to 100 PLN (29%) per month. And yet, despite the small amount they have, 54% of respondents declare saving money (11% regularly, 43% from time to time).
Source: "GEN Z" report, Infuture Hatalska Foresight Institute and Dentsu Aegis Network, May 2019.
Representatives of Generation Z
Is it possible to succeed at such a young age? Yes, indeed. Let's just remind you that the representatives of Generation Z are people who are up to 24 years old, and still for a few, it is not a problem. In 2019 Forbes magazine ranking "30 under 30" (February 2019), which presents the most influential people before the age of 30, there are as many as 4 Poles out of which 2 are the representatives of Generation Z. The first one is the co-creator of the Warsaw start-up CallPage - Sergey Butko. Although he is of Ukrainian origin, he has been running his innovative business in Poland. 22 year-old Sergey was named the youngest person in the "Technology" category. The CallPage application tracks every user in the real-time on a selected website, resulting in higher conversion rate on the website, the higher number of calls from potential customers and an increase in the quality of sales. Recently, the start-up refused the purchase offer from a telecom company and chose the development, for which it collected as much as 17 million PLN.
The second representative in the ranking is a 24 year-old Maciej Musiał, a famous Polish actor and film producer. He was placed on the European magazine list in the "Entertainment" category. Maciej is the author and main character of the first Polish Netflix series - "1983". He became famous mainly because of the role in the series Rodzinka.pl. He was also a host of The Voice of Poland. He was awarded many times.
Who else do we include in the Generation Z? There are for example the Polish footballers representing our country in the foreign clubs, such as Krzysztof Piątek (AC Milan), Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Duesseldorf), Jan Bednarek (Southampton FC) or popular 20 year-old actresses and influencers, such as Julia Wieniawa and Angelika Mucha.
When it comes to the international arena, Kylie Jenner is undoubtedly the winner. She was placed first on the Forbes list as the youngest world billionaire. Not Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel, or Bill Gates, but indeed Kylie Jenner. In three years the 21 year-old American built a fortune worth 900 million dollars - a company "Kylie Cosmetics". She also took second place in this year's Forbes ranking of 100 the best-earning celebrities in the world, just behind the 29 year-old singer Taylor Swift. She overtook people like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kanye West, Lionel Messi, and Beyonce.
Conclusions and recommendations for financial institutions regarding Generation Z
- it is worth investing in remote access channels (livechat, chatbot, mobile application) and be everywhere where Gen Z is (eg. TicToc, Instagram, Whatsapp),
- it is worth taking care of the quality of your website and the mobile application, as well as its evaluation and updates,
- it is worth creating exclusive and unique experiences for the client in the world of finance (saving money or investing).
Building engagement among young investors is particularly important for NN Investment Partners TFI. The company has been testing and looking for new digital solutions, innovative methods of payment or verification, optimizing the website and improving the mobile application. The company’s aim is to make the clients’ experience related to investing maximally comfortable and pleasant :)