By 2020, Generation Z will make up 40% of all US consumers. Gen Z has a very specific set of consumer preferences, which will have a major impact on the overall economy. More concretely, what makes Gen Z unique is the fact that they engage in the economy as "conscious consumers," meaning that they conduct a cost/benefit analysis of how their purchase/action will impact the overarching consumer base. Therefore, Gen Z purchasing decisions are primarily motivated by social impact and the human-centric approach.
First of all, let's define social impact through the lens of Gen Z. Social impact is any form of ethically and responsible driven action that positively effects the human experience. And just how important is social impact when it comes to Gen Z purchasing decisions? Let's take a look at some statistics:
72% of Gen Z factor in a company’s Purpose when shopping
"The vast majority of Gen Zers (90 percent) follow the growing consumer trend of the past few years in believing companies must take action on social and environmental issues" – Sustainable Brands
"1 in 4 always/often buy a product or service ‘based solely because you believe that brand’s values and you want to support them’ and 67% do this at least some of the time. 2018 Survey of Young People and Social Change"
This information shows that social impact is a key driver when it comes to how Gen Z interacts in the market. So, what is my advice to companies that would like to effectively engage this demographic in the market?
Make social impact your defining purpose as an enterprise
Make it clear that you are operating in an ethics-first framework
Create and publish a set of ethical principles that will go directly into the hands of your stakeholders
Draft a white paper explaining your role as an enterprise in promoting social impact and elevating the human experience
These four steps are crucial to engage Gen Z as consumers. Moreover, Gen Z does not care about the status of your company, whether you are IBM or a small business. We value the social impact of your company over the name that you represent. Allow this knowledge to permeate and serve in your favor. Remember, firms who contribute to the human experience are the ones that will succeed in tomorrow's Gen Z driven economy. Champion social impact, and you will win the heart of the Gen Z consumer.