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GenZ - how to connect to the next big thing in consumers

29 June 2018

GenZ

Junkee Research provides background for its Junkee Media channels. The research, around the consumption, influences and concerns of its audience – predominantly GenZers – then informs its audience interaction.

According to Google Analytics, 65 per cent of Junkee engagement comes via mobile and its monthly Facebook reach is 1,500,000. Interestingly, Junkee’s own social media research shows that for its audience: Snapchat has taken a dive; Twitter in Australia is fading; Instagram has plateaued; Facebook has dipped by 4 percent but LinkedIn is trending up.

What defines a GenZer? They are born after 1996. The youngest in the cohort were born around 2011. According to global estimations, GenZ controls approximately $44 billion in purchasing power. Those GenZers born in the early 2000s are getting their first jobs and are beginning to deal with financial literacy concepts such as tax, budgeting, savings, superannuation, credit cards, loans, etc., etc., for the first time. Recent Westpac research has found that 71 per cent of 15- to 20-year-old Australians are worried about their ability to make sound financial decisions.

Apparently, and this will come as no surprise to the parents of GenZ, around a third of GenZers don’t feel comfortable going an hour without accessing the Internet, and over half of them say the Internet determines what they do on a daily basis.

It’s probably unsurprising to find American influences dominate the thoughts of this audience, culturally, and Junkee’s research bears this out. GenZ also shows signs of being more conservative, ambitious and materialistic than previous generations, which could be why the social channel LinkedIn is trending up - to build successful careers - and why, according to Year 13, an online site supporting young people to move on from school into, let’s call it, “life”, financial literacy is an issue for its audience. Year 13 has begun a free online program which offers a clear way to navigate the issues.

(And, for the parents in the room, research shows GenZ is not interested in taking drugs.)

What do Gen Zs care about? According to Junkee: sustainability and the environment (95 per cent); gender equality (94 per cent); refugee rights (87 per cent) and animal welfare (87 per cent). They want authentic interaction. For example: when it comes to the content of ads/brand content it’s more important for them to support a cause they believe in, than to see something that makes them laugh or has a celebrity or influencer included in it.

Health and wellbeing preoccupies them and they worry about data privacy, which is different to worrying about personal privacy. Gen Z expects security but unlike other cohorts, they are happy to share their data so that they are guaranteed a personalised more intuitive/predictive experience. That being said, they care about site security and data loss. If a breach occurs they want to know how the site, brand, etc. “reacts and handles the aftermath” of that breach. They want transparency.

Alarmingly, there’s been a drop in happiness and contentment among this cohort even though GenZ reports being “less concerned” about things. The research found that only 67 per cent of GenZ said they were happy and content – compared to 74 per cent in 2017.

There’s been a lot of research around smart phone usage and depression and the negative impact of Facebook and social media. It appears it’s not the technology itself that causes unhappiness but what people perceive they are not doing and are missing out on that generates the negative feelings… and it’s this which feeds into discontent.

In what would appear – on the surface - to be in direct opposition to this trend is the move for GenZ toward spending time at home versus going out. Junkee terms this JOMO: the joy of missing out. JOMO is generated by excitement around streaming services (Netflix, etc.).

Virtually none of this cohort watches free to air TV anymore, even on catch up TV.

Around 80 per cent of GenZ think they can tell if a news article on social media is real news or not. Whether they can or not is a different consideration.

The Edelman Trust Barometer has this to say about general trust in the media, which includes social platforms and search engines: “According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, media has become the least-trusted global institution for the first time, with trust scores of over 50 percent in only six markets, five of which are in the developing world. Putting pressure on trust in media are declining trust in search engines and social media. People have retreated into self-curated information bubbles, where they read only that with which they agree, as if selecting their playlist for music. Fully half of respondents indicate that they consume mainstream media less than once a week. Nearly six in 10 agree that news organizations are politicized, and nearly one in two agree that they are elitist. Nearly two-thirds agree that the average person cannot distinguish good journalism from falsehoods.”

In a warning around privacy that will have Baby Boomers and GenXers quaking, Junkee points out “if you let them [technology giants through their products], will know if you’re walking, cycling or on a bus through your phone;

“Google, apple, Samsung will know where and what you’re listening to/watching;

“Alexa will know if you’re having an argument;

“Siri will know what you’re having for dinner;

“Fitbit will know if you’re sleeping, getting hot and heavy under the sheets, or having a heart attack.”

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