New Qualtrics research shows that Gen Z consumers are more digitally connected, more socially conscious and willing to do more research before making purchases than other generational cohorts.
In a Food Institute article from late 2021, Mark Beal, author of DECODING GEN Z: 101 Lessons Generation Z Will Teach Corporate America, Marketers & Media, offered similar insights into the evolving purchasing trends of 18-to-25-year-olds.
“It’s less about following in the footsteps of Millennials and more about what I call, the four P’s in food brands that Gen Zers love, purchase and advocate via social media: purpose, partnerships, posts and -plus-Ups,” said Beal, a professor at Rutgers University.
Here’s a few of the biggest takeaways from the new Qualtrics findings:
- Gen Zers do their research before purchasing: Reviews matter to Gen Z as 78% of that generation said they research or look at customer reviews most of the time before purchasing from a new brand.
- Gen Z is most likely to be upset by a negative interaction with a company: On a scale of upset to delighted, Gen Z is the least likely to report being happy with a customer experience.
- Gen Z expects brands to deliver on their promises – and they’re not afraid to look for alternatives when they don’t: A whopping 70% of Gen Zers have switched brands because the customer experience did not live up to the brand promise as advertised (such as “fast delivery.”)
- Gen Z cares more than other generations about the health and safety protocols businesses have adopted during the pandemic: Gen Z is twice as likely as Baby Boomers to stop purchasing from a brand because its felt the brand’s safety measures were insufficient, and three times as likely to start purchasing from a brand because it approved of the brand’s COVID safety measures.
- Gen Z is more aware of brands’ values and likely to stop buying from a brand if they don’t feel a connection to those values: 22% of Gen Zers say they’re very familiar with the brand values of the products they choose, compared to just 7.5% of Baby Boomers, and 38% say they probably or definitely stopped buying from a brand because of an ad that didn’t resonate with them.
- Gen Z consumers are more aware of how brands are addressing social and environmental issues: 31% say the brands they purchase from are doing enough to address societal and environmental issues.
When it comes to brands, Beal found that, of Gen Zers ages 13-24 across the U.S., 91% said they research a company or brand to ensure they operate in a purposeful way before buying their product.
“Operating purposefully includes being environmentally friendly, supporting charities important to Gen Z and taking meaningful action in response to the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter awakening,” he said.
Editor’s note: The Food Institute also discussed Gen Z preferences in a podcast last summer, featuring a panel from Cornell University. To hear the whole podcast, click here.