As the younger generation comes of age, it’s clear that they have developed unique habits that put them at the forefront of the mobile commerce revolution. Generation Z, roughly aged 8 to 23, uses mobile devices more frequently and with greater familiarity, and as the oldest members of the generation reach adulthood, they are beginning to have the significant spending power that they employ on mobile at a greater rate. Understanding the way Gen Z engages with mobile platforms can help identify ways to connect with them as mCommerce customers.
According to Common Sense Media, 69% of Gen Z own a smartphone by age 12, compared to 41% four years earlier. The younger generation is digital and mobile natives who use mobile devices casually and for all purposes. They are less likely to be reached by advertising on other platforms such as television, and even email marketing is less effective. Brands that want to engage with this generation must rely heavily on mobile, which is difficult to do without being intrusive when their mobile experience is so personal.
The same report found that 86% of teenagers shop online. In the US, individuals from 16-22 spend $44 billion annually and influence a total of $600 billion in household spending, which emphasises the growing value of Generation Z to brands trying to expand their audience.
The Growing Importance of Apps
eMarketer research found that adults already use mobile apps for 2 hours and 25 minutes a day compared to 26 minutes on mobile web browsers. That amount of time spent on apps is continuing to rise year by year. Teenagers spend over 7 hours a day on screens and are most accustomed to smartphones. Any brand that does not have an app is missing out on the way mobile platforms are used.
Apps with convenient interfaces, mobile apps can make use of the features of the device, load faster, and useless data. Buyers may place more trust in providing payment methods to an app they have downloaded than a web site, which in turn leads to more purchases. As long as they don’t take up much space on the device’s memory, apps are unlikely to get deleted unless the user is sure they will never use them again.
Generation Z downloads apps more casually and is more comfortable using them as the primary source of contact with a brand. It makes great business sense to focus your app strategy around a younger audience.
Reaching out Through Social Media
To get Generation Z’s attention toward a mCommerce brand, marketing efforts have to start on social media where many younger people spend hours of time each day. Engaging on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, and other platforms where Gen Z spends their time can be a valuable way to drive traffic. Restaurant Business found that 34% of Gen Z consults Facebook for restaurant info, and many reported using Instagram for the same purpose. Recently, Instagram and other platforms have moved into enabling purchases directly from a restaurant or other business’s page.
Younger consumers often use social media to show off their purchases, whether they are taking pictures of their meals or clothing. eCommerce apps can also have their own social features that make it easy to share purchases socially to provide organic marketing.
Customizing Mobile Apps For Your Purposes
mCommerce apps should appeal to Generation Zers’ preferences to get them to install them and use them to make purchases. Gen Z takes in information through media that is heavy with images and videos, so mCommerce apps should support a highly visual design that can display attention-getting images at the forefront. Showing images or videos of products ‘in action’ is an effective way to connect a young, creative-minded audience.
Apps should also support mobile wallets and other digital payment systems that younger people use at a higher rate rather than catering only to credit card users. And finally, push notifications and in-app messages can be used to engage with Gen Z in a relatable, friendly way, but many report disliking being addressed with personal information, meaning personalization can go too far.
Learning the best ways to approach Gen Z is vital as the new generation becomes a larger segment of the eCommerce customer base, but a thoughtful marketing and app design approach can create a loyal audience.