Generation Z after 2000

Teenagers are glued to their phones, signaling engagement opportunities for retailers that deploy authentic and thoughtful marketing strategies.

Generation Z has the highest mobile usage frequency rates out of other demographics, and according to a GlobalWebIndex analysis on the usage patterns, individuals between the ages of 16 and 20 are spending more time on their smartphones than other devices combined.

The analysis released by the audience insight and marketing agency noted that smartphones have always been available since Gen Z-ers were born, resulting in fluency on the device. “Personal ownership of smartphones is virtually universal (96 percent) and each day [Generation Z] spend an average of three hours 38 minutes online on these devices — almost 50 minutes longer than the average Internet user,” said authors of the report.

And though this demographic is highly active on mobile, they don’t discriminate against using other devices. Keep in mind that teens typically are using desktops for homework and school projects. However, academic demands don’t move the needle much in terms of usage frequency. According to the analysis, Generation Z captures 3.5 hours — 25 minutes lower than the global average — of daily online time on PCs, laptops and tablets.

Angry shoppers

Generation Z were quickest to hang up on service calls.  Shutterstock / Creativa Images

It’s not news that Generation Z is a mobile-first demographic, however retailers are still lagging in capitalizing on its primed position for engagement. According to Accenture’s report, “Gen Z and Millennials: Leaving Older Shoppers in Their Digital Dust,” present teenagers are wildly more open to new shopping methodologies than even their Millennial cohorts — 73 percent of Gen Z shoppers said they couldn’t wait to try voice-activated ordering, for example.

An innovative approach might not suffice in capturing this demographic cohort, though. Gen Z-ers tend to skip video ads more than older individuals. According to research conducted by Kantar Millward Brown’s analysis released in the “Ad Reaction: Generation X, Y and Z” report, 56 percent of Generation Z survey participants shared the attitude that they skip ads whenever they can — what’s more, they skip ads faster, too.

Despite apparent low-hanging fruit of Gen Z’s mobile reliance and usage, retailers’ mobile conversions are dismally low. Demandware’s 2016 second-quarter shopping index said out of all device traffic, 47 percent occurred on mobile — but resulted in only 27 percent of users making orders. Compare this to desktop’s 44 percent traffic share and 61 percent order rate.

Retailers that consider authentic strategies will navigate the difficult landscape best, according to the research. Look to the content teens are already consuming: YouTube tutorials and relatable social feeds, especially. Here resides opportunity to tap micro-influencers that boast high engagement rates to present new product and release special, time-sensitive deals to implore a sense of urgency to finalize purchases before expiration, experts noted.

More on Generation Z from WWD:

Winning Strategies of Successful Customer Service Teams

Tick Tock: The Cost of Sluggish Web Sites

Categorizing the Consumer: Four Classifications Necessary for Success