This generation has a distinct perspective on shopping, and brands must now earn a customer's loyalty in order to gain and retain their business.

What is necessary to capture the attention of the influential Gen Z generation? Here are five things that brands need to know about this consumer:

1. It is a generation that embraces innovation
This is a generation of people who've grown up being able to do everything online.

"Their first experience of a bank probably wasn't going into a physical branch, but having their parents set up an account that they've always been able to access digitally. Some may even have only ever used their bank's smartphone app," says Tony Mallam, CEO of upnup, Africa's first passive micro-investing platform.

"The same is true for almost everything else in their lives, be it music, gaming, or communication," adds Mallam. "Why should their approach to investment and savings be any different."

When an app comes around that lets them instantly trade shares, flip sneakers, or convert their digital pocket change into cryptocurrencies, they're going to embrace it. Mallam says that taking a tech-first approach, allows people to take control of their savings and finances remotely via digital apps — and building a savings culture becomes much easier.

2. They focus on mobile and privacy
For positive engagement and long-lasting connections with Generation Z, businesses must create an extraordinary customer experience, which begins before a person becomes a customer.

"Generation Z values efficiency; therefore, businesses need to consider how they can save them time. Is it simple for consumers to contact your business at any time, even if it's just via a chatbot, can they interact and make purchases using mobile devices?" asks Zoho's regional manager for Africa Andrew Bourne.

"By doing so, businesses will encourage two-way interactions and foster customer loyalty and trust," adds Bourne.

Businesses must also understand that this is a generation that values privacy. To be respectful of boundaries and become a trusted brand in the eyes of this modern generation, companies should plan their digital advertising strategies based on the data that prospective customers voluntarily provide.

Bourne says that despite the fact that first-party data such as web pages visited, time spent and actions taken on the site, order history and other information available through their own CRM systems can help businesses market effectively and build long-term relationships. This makes it essential to obtain consent from the prospect or customer prior to doing so.

3. The generations looks to experience over ownership
Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of rent-to-own industry leader Teljoy, says, "What the subscription model is actually giving to people is access."

Access is opening new doors for the market and we are seeing accelerated growth in the experience economy. A major portion of this is being driven by Generation Z whose focus is on experiencing life as opposed to owning stuff.

Hurvitz adds, "These individuals want to spend their time and money experiencing things — from attending events to taking part in sporting activities, or trying a variety of cultural activities."

"Even the Baby Boomer generation are transitioning away from seeing assets as wealth and are focusing more on creating memories with their families and friends. They aren't seeing their legacies as what they can leave to their children one day — it's about the memories that they leave behind," says Hurvitz.

4. They like attention-grabbing content
According to Glenn Gillis, CEO at Sea Monster, no generation has been as empowered as Gen Z is.

Technology has given them the freedom to break free from traditional media channels. In turn, this freedom has given them a choice of what they consume, when they consume it, on their preferred platform.

"In order to grab Gen Z's attention, brands need to offer them attention-grabbing and hyper-relevant information and content. Living in a fast-paced world has conditioned Zoomers to be able to pass on anything remotely irrelevant in their eyes," adds Gillis.

They use each social media channel for different purposes, they use Twitter to get news, Instagram to exhibit their aspirational lives, Snapchat to share daily interactions and Facebook for information according to research by

"Social Media is also their most preferred channel to engage with a brand. The average young person spends around two hours and 31 minutes on social media per day. In order to stand out when targeting Gen Z, include video and stimulating images when you can, connect with the Gen Z customer on a human level and use critical data tracking to deliver personalised experiences," says Gillis.

5. They place an emphasis on inclusion
Up until now, Gen Zs may not have been on the radar of businesses within the tourism sector.

Head of marketing and communications at online travel booking platform Jurni Tshepo Matlou adds that as Gen Zers fully enter adulthood over the next decade, they'll become the leaders in a key, new market.

"This group of consumers is known as digital natives, with an intuitive knack for technology. To them, the physical and digital worlds are a seamless blend of experiences. Those that are travelling, search and book for accommodation online, most probably on their phones," Matlou says.

Matlou adds that travel brands wanting to appeal to these digital content consumers should:
  • enhance their digital booking experience
  • have effective online communication, and
  • focus on a strong social media presence.
"Gen Zers are also heavily influenced by social media, with reviews on social media platforms critical in their final decision-making about where to stay," adds Matlou.

This cohort has grown up as a globally aware generation, highly conscious of their responsibility towards the environment, so sustainable travel and eco-friendly travel options will also appeal to them. And, they value diversity, so are increasingly placing emphasis on inclusion; any brand wanting to appeal to them should address this.

Understanding Gen Zs behavioural patterns are key for those within the travel sector if they want to remain a step ahead, concludes Matlou.

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