Study: Gen Z is truly the digital generation

Retailers targeting Gen Z consumers need to offer the right kind of omnichannel customer experience.

[caption id="attachment_478941" align="alignright" width="162"] CLICK TO ENLARGE[/caption]

According to “Reality Bytes: The Digital Experience is the Human Experience,” a new study from WP Engine and the Center for Generational Kinetics, Gen Z consumers born between 1996-2010 is fully immersed in the Internet. More than half (55%) of Gen Z consumers can’t comfortably go more than four hours without the Internet, while 22% of Baby Boomers can go a week or more.

As a result, Gen Z are willing to trade privacy for personalized experiences - 44% will provide their personal data to enable a more personalized experience over an anonymous one. Additionally, 44% of Gen Z would stop visiting a website if it didn’t anticipate what they needed, liked, or wanted.

When asked if an online-only company was less trustworthy than a solely brick-and-mortar business, 75% of Gen Z said no. However, Gen Z also prefers businesses to have an online presence and a physical storefront. And all generations, including Gen Z, would rather use a retailer’s website than a mobile app -- with Baby Boomers leading the pack at 85%, followed by Gen X (82%), Millennials (68%), and Gen Z (61%).

Other interesting findings include:

• 69% of Gen Z are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes; compared to 23% of Baby Boomers.

• 79% of Gen Z trust a company more if the images they use are not Photoshopped.

• 84% of Gen Z trust a company more if they use actual customers in their ads.

• 26% of Gen Z prefer to be entertained by a company’s online content, while 92% of Baby Boomers prefer to be informed.

• 82% of Gen Z are more likely to purchase from a company that provides consistent and relevant content (videos, blogs, social media posts, magazine).

• 80% of Gen Z believe that with biometrics (fingerprint and face recognition, voice and speech recognition), Internet authentication will be done without keyboards within five years.

• 78% of Gen Z think that through augmented reality or virtual reality, the Internet will impact our view of the world constantly, wherever we are, within five years.

The study was administered to 1,258 respondents in the U.S., ages 14-59, who currently use a smartphone on a regular basis, in August 2018.