Otherwise known as “post-millennials,” the “Generation,” “founders,” “plurals,” or the “Homeland Generation,” this demographic is typified by the birth-year range of mid-1990s to early 2000s. Research shows they make up 29 percent of the U.S. population, and by 2020 they will account for one-third of that population. In 2017 the first of the Gen Zers will reach their 18th birthday, and within the next five years they will be the fastest-growing generation in the market and workplace.
Businesses are preparing to shift marketing efforts, adjust leadership roles and adapt recruiting efforts to stay relevant for the future. What is it about this generation that real estate agents need to know to do the same?
Market researchers, cultural observers and trend forecasters say this much about early indications:
- Gen Z lives in a world accustomed to immediate and continuous information. They have learned to process information faster, and lose interest quickly – which may attribute to shortened attention spans. Outdated, slow or antiquated information is immediately eschewed for now-time facts, engagement and information. Think: Snapchat and Facebook Live.
- Gen Z has the largest digital footprint of any generation; they are the first true digital natives. Social media is their playground. They are active following celebrities, media sources, music outlets, brands of interest, etc. Many consider their digital devices a necessity rather than an addiction.
- This generation is considered the first “global” generation because of the wide development of the online world. Therefore, look for an increase in global thinking, worldwide interactions and online identification.
- Gen Z is virtual. They don’t remember a time pre-social media. They have lived their lives online, interacting with family, friends and acquaintances. It’s likely they’ve made their first large ticket purchases online. They turn to the internet for just about everything, which could have a profound impact on their relationships.
- Gen Z will likely be the most educated generation yet. It’s estimated that a larger percentage of Gen Z will graduate from college than any previous generation. Additionally, they rely heavily on virtual research for training and problem-solving needs.
- Gen Z is self-aware, self-reliant, innovative and goal oriented.
- They are embracing more anonymous social media platforms like Secret, Snapchat and Whisper. Privacy and an invisible digital trail are chosen over the public displays that exist on Facebook. They are aware of how their predecessors have posted too openly on Facebook and engaged in Twitter wars, because they are aware of their personal brand.
- Safety is a big concern with Generation Z; this is likely due to their predecessors, and themselves, growing up in hardship, global conflict and economic troubles.
If you begin to add it all up: privacy, immediacy, entrepreneurship, caution, diversity, equality and sensibility are the threads that just may be holding this generation together.
Here are some actions you can take to prepare for Gen Z:
1. Polish your website – first impressions are everything!
2. Increase your activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
3. Establish relationships with social influencers to help you make your social media mark.
4. Review your marketing plan and make sure it includes digital initiatives.