What you need to know about Generation Z

Just when you thought you had Millennials nailed, there’s another generation on the scene, about to enter the workforce.

By 2020, Generation Z is expected to make up 40% of consumer markets, which has the potential to cause major changes across all industries! Here’s what you need to know.


“Generation Z” is everyone born between 1995 and 2014.

The older members of this generation are finishing university, and starting work. Although they bear a resemblance to Millennials, they are different and need to be treated differently.

Generation Z Traits:

  • Diverse and the most multicultural generation yet.
  • Open-minded in many ways.
  • Innovators interested in entrepreneurship.
  • Dreamers who want to follow their passions.
  • Independent learners who have the desire to self-educate.
  • Do-gooders who want to make a difference.
Sound like all good traits to resemble, right? How to relate to these genius ‘up-and-comers’ is something you need to know about, and we’ve done the homework for you. Here’s our content tips on (marketing to) appealing to Gen Z’ers - the worlds next generation:


63% of Gen Z prefer seeing “real people” in advertisements, as they value authenticity and a realistic narrative. Feature real people and stories in your campaigns and build a brand that’s down to earth and relatable.

An example of a brand that’s done this well is Kiwibank:

Their ‘Indepen-Dance’ series shows their customers dancing in normal clothes doing their own dances, and really create a warm fuzzy, happy feeling!

This need for ‘real-ness’ has brought about the rise of the social media influencer. 

70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities.

QUICK FACT: Influencer marketing is the process of using someone who carries a strong reputation with a large number of people in a given niche by having them endorse your brand, support your content, or co-create content with you and your brand. This has been proven to work particularly well in beauty and tech brands, but has the potential to work with most industries. 

A Kiwi influencer you’re likely to have heard of is How to Dad aka Jordan Watson. Check out his Kiwiburger ad for McDonalds above.


Generation Z have used the Internet from a young age, and are generally comfortable with technology and with interacting on social media.

In fact, 85% use social media to learn about new products. While Millennials pioneered Facebook, Generation Z prefers social networks such as SnapchatInstagram, and YouTube.

About 71% of Gen Z use Snapchat on a daily basis, and 51% of this group use it about 11 times per day. To find out more on why you should be using Snapchat check out our blog.

An easy way to target tech in your business is by encouraging social media shares.

If you have a physical space, create areas that are snap- and share-worthy. You don’t need to spend heaps to get this right - a witty sign, creative wall art, or mouth-watering treats can do the trick.

Here’s an example from The Lumsden in Auckland:


Your company needs to be conscious of the environment, planet, and society.

According to a recent study, 60% of Gen Z want to positively change the future of our world. This means that it pays to invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Depending on your business, there are a few ways you could do this - find something that works for you, but here’s a couple of ideas:
  • Donate to charity: Whether it’s a regular donation, a one-off, or donating a portion of your time/sales, donating to charity is a great way your business can help.

    The Social Shop does this by donating up to 10 hours every month to charitable projects & organisations across New Zealand. Check out our rad Monster Auction campaign for Franklin Hospice:
  • Source and produce your products responsibly: Being conscious of how you source and produce your goods is a great way to practice CSR.

    Are you implementing human and environmentally friendly business practices? Simple changes like sustainable packaging, or sourcing free range animal products can be a great place to start.

    Trade Aid is a great example of this. They source their handmade, fair trade products from more than 65 trading partner organisations, which represent hundreds and thousands of small-scale farmers and artisans in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Palestine and the Pacific.

  • Help the community: Lending a hand in your local community will benefit the local area, and can make a big difference.

    Lone Star Pukekohe gives back to the local community by hosting an Annual Charitable Christmas Lunch. This business with a conscience ropes in volunteers, and invites disadvantaged families to their restaurant for a Kiwi Christmas feast.

    Implement a CSR strategy and you might just find yourself some new employees - ninety-three percent of Generation Z’s say that their decision to work in a company is majorly influenced by its impact on society.


The average Gen Z-er has an attention span of about 8 seconds (by comparison millenials have an average attention span of 12).

Having grown up in a tech-focused society, they’ve been constantly bombarded by information, and are adept at quickly filtering through it.

This means that marketers should strive to deliver pitches and ads short enough to hold their attention but long enough to impart important messages. This need to make content snackable has brought about the rise of live videos, vibrant visual imagery, and attention-grabbing titles, so jump on board and make every second count.

Check out this video we created for Paerata Rise to introduce the wider community to their Build Partners:

This short snappy clip is a fun way to advertise Paerata Rise, and show that there’s a bit of personality behind the business.

There’s no one way to target Gen Z’s, but if you’re candid, conscious & concise you can’t go too far wrong. Plus, remember to try some new social media platforms to find out what works for your business.

If you’re still unsure, or if you need some ideas to get your started, check out the The Social Shop Facebook page to get a feel for what a good content mix looks like, on an SME budget. We go in-depth with all of the above tips in Social School our free FB group which you should join right HERE.

Social School is for SME’s & Marketers who want to stay ahead in the world of social media marketing, delivered in a Kiwi and global context. 
Come hang!

If in doubt, remember that 40% of Generation Z said that working Wi-Fi was more important to them than working bathrooms… 
For real.