What are Gen Z like as consumers in 2022?

Blog 30.9.2022

Young consumers have influence

Generation Z is today’s largest and most influential consumer group. Generation Z is already the largest age group on the planet, and in addition to their direct purchasing power, young people also have a considerable amount of indirect purchasing power. The opinions of young people influence up to 87% of family consumption choices.

With the influence of social media, individual consumers, such as social media influencers, can impact the purchasing decisions of millions of young people. However, the purchasing decisions of Generation Z are most influenced by the examples set by friends and family. Especially older members of Generation Z make their consumption choices based on their values, and a company’s responsibility affects their purchasing decisions. Over 60% of young people prefer a responsible brand, and even 73% of young people are willing to pay slightly more for a responsible product. In addition, the popularity of the circular economy has risen among young people and spread to other age groups.

Influencers have less influence on young people than expected

Large and popular influencers do not influence the shopping behavior of young people as much as one might think. In a brand survey of Finnish young people, we asked what annoys them about corporate activities, and it was revealed that the inauthentic collaboration between companies and influencers was one of the key annoying topics. However, what annoys young people the most is when a company doesn’t admit its mistakes. Transparency and authenticity are essential values for Generation Z.

Commercial collaborations that feel forced are perceived as insincere, and they erode the trust of followers in both the influencer and the company. On the other hand, if an influencer succeeds in building a strong trust relationship with their followers, the bond is very strong. That’s why micro-influencers who are closer to their followers, relatable, and specialized in their own niche are often more influential today than celebrity influencers.

What do young people value in brands?

Compared to older generations, young people are more brand-conscious. They also expect more from brands. In our study, the brand that interested Finnish youth the most was Apple, which combines the factors most valued by young people in brands, such as high quality, good products, an appealing visual identity, and, above all, the brand’s popularity in general and within their own peer group. Apple’s merits also include excellent customer service and creativity, which are highly appreciated by young people.

As consumers, young people are skeptical, and they are challenging to convince through advertising. Young people’s brand loyalty is known to be weaker than that of older generations, and they won’t hesitate to switch to a competitor’s product if the original product does not meet their expectations or align with their values – or if another brand offers something new and interesting.

Preferred channels and media usage among young people

For Generation Z, the most important aspect of media usage is staying connected with friends and family. The youngest members of Generation Z use TikTok the most, while older members may also spend time on Instagram. The channel where brand activity is expected most is Instagram, which young people readily accept as a commercial platform. In general, young people expect brands to be active on various social media channels. The key is for brands to produce content that is native to the platform and provide timely information.

Bängeri: Tutkimus suomalaisnuorten suhteesta brändeihin (2021)
National Retail Federation survey: ”NRF’s Fall 2019 Consumer View” (2019)
Gen Z brand relationships Authenticity matters IBM institute for business value (2017)