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  • Sher Lynn

Marketing 101: Millennials vs. Gen Z

Millennials vs. Gen Z

When it comes to marketing to today’s young consumers, whether on Instagram or in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, brands are trying desperately to figure out what resonates.

Millennials and Generation Z are both extremely digitally savvy. For this reason, they’re often lumped into the same category (strategically speaking). Brands looking to stay at the forefront of what’s “cool” tend to view Millennials as nearly identical to their younger brothers and sisters who are members of Generation Z.

However, while both Millennials and Generation Z are digital natives, they do not consume the same sorts of content. Remember, Millennials are those between the ages of 22 to 38, whereas Generation Z is composed of those 21 and younger.

To claim that what’s cool to a 31-year-old is the same as what’s cool to a 21 year-old doesn’t make much sense. They are entirely independent audiences, with different habits, preferences, and reasons for being online.

In order to effectively market to both Millennials and Generation Z, it’s important to understand their differences.

Retailers have been obsessed with Millennials. But now, they're scrambling to understand Generation Z, the teen generation. After all, teens are the future of retail. It's important for companies to recognize the differences between the two generations, and how failing to do so could harm them.

A recent study by Ernst & Young sought to find out how the two groups of young people differ. The firm polled 1,000 adults and 400 teens.


Teens are even more frugal than Millennials, but in a different way.

The things you see Millennials doing when it comes to spending, Gen Z are just taking it to another level. Millennials have been in the position of being frugal and very careful with their money.

Gen Z isn't just frugal — they're out to find the best value, they look beyond just what the price says it is to what you're going to get for [the price] — are you going to get free delivery? What other services come along with it?

Generation Z prefers influencer marketing more than Millennials.

Influencer marketing has become extremely popular for targeting younger demographics. Influencers appear more genuine, they carry their own loyal audiences, and the content they produce tends to outperform the content most brands create internally.

Gen Z doesn't shop online nearly as much as Millennials.

Forty-nine percent of the teens surveyed shopped online once a month — and most of them don't even have credit cards yet. This number will increase, according to the study, once they get them.

Millennials shop online more, unsurprisingly: 74% of the Millennials surveyed shopped online at least once a month.

Teens shop online for "efficiency purposes."

According to the survey, each generation had different reasons for shopping online.

Sixty-three percent of Gen Z-ers polled said that they shopped online because it saves [them] time, whereas only 55% of Millennials said the same. Fifty-three percent of Gen Z-ers surveyed said that "the selection is better online," whereas only 44% of Millennials surveyed agreed with that statement.

Millennials care about bargains more than teens.

This is arguably because they came of age during the recession.

Sixty-seven percent of Millennials surveyed said that they would go to the website to get a coupon, whereas only 46% of teens polled said they would do the same.

Millennials are also more attuned to ads — 71% of Millennials polled said they saw an ad online for a store before making a purchase, and only 59% of teens said the same. Fifty-nine percent of Millennials surveyed said they had received an alert from a shopping app on their phones before purchasing, and 38% of teens said the same.

Teens care more about "experiences."

Both Millennials and Gen Z discovered through the recession...part of it's been learned, some of it's been trained — that products are no longer the cool thing.

It was cool to save a dollar...and save money and get something for really cheap. Through that whole process they've learned the value's not in the product or the thing, it's in the experience. Going out to eat or going to an event are examples of this. More importantly, they can share this, so now they actually have something that's tangible, which they might not have had before.

When it comes to retailers, fast food restaurants — or fast/casual — these guys are doing a better job of delivering what Gen Z wants.

Sherri Elliott-Yeary, CEO of Generational Guru is an award-winning speaker, professional business consultant, and published author who energetically engages international audiences with her practical strategies for attracting, growing, and retaining top talent and loyal customers from every generation. Sherri brings over twenty years of hands-on experience to support you in designing generational solutions that address:

  • Cross-Generational Leadership Challenges

  • Generational Blind Spots in Sales

  • Effective Recruitment and Retention

  • Marketing to Millennials

For more information, please contact Sherri via email at or text/call her at 469-971-3663.

#MillennialsMatter #Millennials #GenerationZ

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