Move over millennials. Gen Z is now the largest generation, representing 30% of the world’s population. They will emerge to be the largest consumer demographic with a significant online presence.
The new youth cohort, currently aged 10 to 25, have a heightened conscience about the issues surrounding them and are finding ways within their day to day to challenge these systems, particularly around environmental impacts. While collectively passionate about music and gaming, they remain unique by immersing themselves in hyper-niche interests, absorbing content across an expanding panel of platforms.
Given they are digitally native, the tech-savvy generation is averse to ads but well-versed in the value of privacy and data exchange. This means gen Zs require appropriate compensation, through the form of personalised relevance, for the intellectual property they’re giving up.
Gen Z will represent a $30tn global opportunity by 2030 [Bank of America]. For grocers and consumer packaged goods (CPGs) to win over the largest generation, brands need to reflect their values and speak their language – because iykyk (if you know, you know).
Delivering a quality product is no longer enough. Gen Z wants brands who back their efforts in spearheading change – they demand supply chain transparency and can see through empty promises. As brands are being held to a higher standard, two out of three gen Zers are more likely to buy a product if there are mentions of sustainability [Forbes].
Branding messages need to catch them at the right touchpoints across their fragmented journey. New research from Channel Factory shows YouTube as the most used social media platform (93%) for the generation, followed by Meta’s apps (73%) and TikTok (51%). Undecided consumers are turning to online video formats to seek inspiration, and if given the opportunity to meet a public figure, YouTube creators were the number-one choice for gen Zers, demonstrating the power of these platforms.
Given this digital fluidity, the path to influence is even more blurred than ever, which is why staying nimble through automation will be a lever to success. And this will need to be done in a privacy-safe way. Think first-party data combined with modelling and privacy-preserving technology, which protects the personal data that gen Z safeguards closely.
Proposition, presence and privacy is only one side of the story. To capture the short digital attention span of this generation, brands need to show up in fun, innovative ways that provide entertainment. Oreo is a good example of this. Despite being 110 years old, Oreo has adapted with the times and come out on top as the favourite CPG brand among gen Z [YouGov]. The key to its success? Relevance, creativity and speed.
After a century of being just a cookie, Oreo went on a journey and relaunched the brand with tributes to trending moments and culture milestones, a mobile game app that reached the number-one spot in more than 15 countries [GenZ Insights], and the witty tweet that had audiences buzzing during the 34-minute blackout in the Super Bowl XLVII.
A decade on, Oreo is still cultivating deep loyalty with the largest generation, now by partnering with influencers and intersecting in areas that are ubiquitous with gen Z. Lady Gaga teamed up with Oreo in 2021, which saw the creation of pink cookies encased in pink packaging, and fans emptied grocery shelves nationwide. The enormous rise of K-pop and its far-reaching influence on Asian culture drove Oreo’s recent partnership with Blackpink, one of the biggest icons of this generation, to spark playful connections with consumers.
Continuing the theme of play, and as part of its partnerships within the gaming industry, Oreo is also offering custom cookie designs and in-game prizes across popular titles. Gaming is nearly universal for gen Z, with over 80% playing weekly and 200 million logged-in viewers watching gaming content on YouTube every day. Organic branded content, alongside creative advertising, is a powerful way to drive favourability as gen Z are more likely to take note of non-traditional ad formats.
Winning the palettes of our future generation should be part of every grocer and CPG strategy. So connect with their purpose, serve them suitability and deliver a fun, frictionless experience.
The Grocer is hosting a conference on How to Win with Gen Z in March. For more information, visit www.thegrocer-conferences.co.uk.