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Study Examines the Attitudes, Inspirations of Gen Z Consumers

Just as baby boomers changed everything that came before them, Gen Z consumers, the oldest of whom are now 26, is poised to do the same, demanding everything from corporate accountability to guaranteed minimum income for every individual, a study from the Center for Generational Kinetics finds.

The State of Gen Z 2023 examined everything from Gen Z’s attitude toward work and money to members’ attitudes toward life. The study queried 1,027 members of Gen Z, ages 18-26, across America.

Census figures show there are approximately 68.6 million Gen Zers in the U.S. Members are expected to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025, with the group’s spending power only expected to grow from the current $360 billion annually.

When it comes to consumer attitudes, this digitally savvy generation relies on verified ratings and reviews, as well as first-hand recommendations from family and friends.

“One key discovery was that the industries most likely to be impacted by online influencers are the apparel and the food and beverage industries,” the report said.

“Another interesting discovery was that Gen Z women’s trust is most likely to be influenced by verified customer ratings and reviews when it comes to buying an automobile, consumer technology or picking a restaurant.”

Young consumers’ favored social media platforms these days include:

  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • WeChat

AI Summit

At work, more than half of Gen Z said leaders can have a positive impact on their lives, inspire them to grow and give them good advice, and although Gen Zers have less work experience than their elders did at their age, they boast legitimate potential.

The study found Gen Z consumers want leaders who show consistency and caring in their style, picking up on feelings and employee dynamics to create a collaborative workplace. This is especially true of younger members of the cohort, the report found.

Gen Z consumers responded strongly to cash incentives, with paid time off ranking as a top priority along with the need for recognition through company text messages, industry awards and charitable contributions. The following elements define a health work culture for Gen Zers:

  • Flexibility
  • Healthy work/life balance
  • Trust in leaders
  • An environment where employees encourage each other

Gen Z is largely focused on saving money and paying down debt, with 48% going to their parents for financial guidance and a third turning to online sources.

So, what does Gen Z really want?

It depends on whether you’re talking about the men or the women. The study found men are significantly more likely to want to start their own business or have a pet while the women are more ambitious, yearning to be able to retire, buy a house, take a dream vacation, find a career they love, invest money, buy a car and volunteer regularly. Yet 48% said they believe the odds are stacked against them.

The Food Institute Podcast

It appears plant-based products have hit a bit of a lull in the U.S., but what’s next for the sector on the whole? David Benzaquen of Mission: Plant and Moonshot Collaborative breaks down the demographics of plant-based eating, common health attributes consumers are looking for, and where the sector could be headed in the future.