Blog: Dean BestWhat does Gen Z want from brands? IRI presents its view

Dean Best | 19 April 2018

While trying to meet the needs of millennials has taken up much of the focus on FMCG marketeers in recent years, younger consumer cohorts are coming up behind and food manufacturers need to start paying them attention. Industry watchers IRI has published the findings of two studies in the US they claim can give an insight into the shopping patterns of those aged 21 and under - Gen Z.

IRI has carried out two studies since September into the "attitudes and behaviours" of Gen Z and then linking those factors to what those consumers actually buy.

The trend IRI calls out is demand among Gen Zers for brands to be authentic, a finding that while not particularly novel underlines similar conclusions drawn from other studies on the cohort.

"Gen Z is deeply motivated by authenticity and a brand’s ’emotional DNA’, which we define as how completely a product or brand aligns with the values shoppers attribute to it,” said Robert Tomei, president of consumer and shopper marketing and core content services for IRI. “Because Gen Z shoppers rely more on brand recognition to make purchase decisions than their millennial counterparts, it is critical that manufacturers and retailers create transparent and authentic relationships with the Gen Z population early on to build loyalty as their purchasing power grows.”

Linked to that trend is a desire among Gen Zers "to be a part of the feedback loop", IRI says. 

"Gen Z has little interest in or patience for brands that try to 'sell them', without sincerely working to get to know them. They want to be an active part of the brand relationship and want a feedback loop and an interactive dialogue - underscoring social media’s importance in both reaching and engaging with them," the researchers say.

Add to that a seeming relaxation with personalisation. IRI's studies claim some 38% of Gen Z kids "think it’s cool to get ads or promotions in their social media feeds for products based on their interests/shopping habits", a level researchers say is "much higher" than for millennials.

There are those, of course, who may argue the recent backlash in some quarters over the data held on users by the likes of Facebook could present a counterpoint to that finding.

In any case, the IRI studies will give marketeers more food for thought as they look to draw up strategies to entice an increasingly-important demographic in a period of intense competition.

just-food deep dive from September 2017: What does Generation Z want from food?


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