The Millennial generation has generally been the center of attention in marketing, product development, and certainly in tech circles over the past few years. This makes sense, seeing as this generation (which we’ll define as being born between 1980 – 2000) is the biggest cohort in American history. They even surpass the Baby Boomer generation in size: an estimated 92 million of them will start to move into major purchases over the next decade. The activity they will produce in areas such as real estate and stock investing are expected to be incredibly influential in the economy in years to come.
But as much as we love Millennials, they aren’t our focus today. (Even though, ahem, some of us here at InterQ may belong in that generation.) Instead, today we’re going to talk about Generation Z. Because their impact is going to be Huge. With a capital H.
What’s this whole Generation Z thing about?
Those born from 1995-2012 qualify for the Generation Z designation. They are young, sure, but also have enormous impact. Technology has always been a part of their lives – while the rest of us have had to adjust to the interconnected world we were plunged into from technological advances, from internet communications to serious smartphone attachments, this cohort grew up with the whole package. Now this generation, just entering adulthood, is creating a ripple effect throughout our economy through their impact on brands, product choices, and shopping preferences.
In market research, we have developed some mechanisms for gathering information about how this age group interacts with products and services. We’re very excited to be working with this generation!
Social media listening
Generation Z members take their internet seriously: one-hundred percent of them are using their mobile devices for at least an hour a day, and 46% are connected 10 or more hours a day. This demographic has also switched up their communication preferences, and now prefer newer social media networks such as Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper. In this year alone, almost a quarter of them have stopped using Facebook.
The amount of time this generation spends online offers droves of research data for us here at InterQ. We are able to mine thousands of internet conversations at any given time though social media listening, a qualitative listening methodology. To clarify, these conversations are public; we never violate privacy rules when examining social media trends and habits. Read this great social media listening blog, where we sat down with Kate Minker, our head of online research, to learn more about how we use this tool to gather and act upon meaningful data.
Online and mobile ethnographic research
Since Generation Z is almost constantly connected to their devices, another qualitative market research methodology we use is online and mobile ethnographic research.
This is how we might use this strategy in practice: first, we recruit our sample and have them log into our qualitative app. The assignments vary depending on the nature of the product, but typically the participants will respond to short questions about their observations or provide some pictures. This type of research methodology falls right into place with this demographic’s routines, allowing us to garner insightful glimpses into their patterns. This type of ethnographic research is preferred among a younger generation as opposed to some more traditional methods, such as shop-alongs or in-person observation.
The importance of focus groups remains
Online research is evidently critical with this demographic, but in-person conversations are still an incredible learning opportunity. Both focus groups and in-depth interviews allow us to have constructive conversations with this generation, and the information we receive give us tangible ideas for shaping a brand or launching a product.
It’s time to act!
Generation Z is growing up fast – the oldest of them are already in college, using their smart consumerism to shape the face of brands and define the manner in which they want to incorporate different products into their lives. This type of consumerism is consequential: they pay attention to how they’re treated, and rewards the brands they love. Investing in market research specifically designed to understand this generation will be incredibly beneficial when you think about your product and branding strategy going forward.