‘Generation Z,’ also known as centennials, refers to the generation born after 1995 or 2000. Marketers and business analysts define Gen Z as people born between 1996 and 2010, meaning it consists essentially of teenagers and young adults who are graduating from college and about to enter the workforce. They are the group to watch according to marketers and business analysts. While their purchasing power may be limited now, Gen Z is becoming an increasingly important customer demographic, with their combined spending power of over $100 billion. Gen Z is therefore a significant group that will shape consumer behaviors in the future.
There are more than 2 billion members of Gen Z across the globe, representing approximately 27% of the world’s population. The largest populations of young people are in India, China and the United States, respectively, all of which are the world’s top consumer markets. They also contribute significantly to the global demand for gems and jewelry. In 2020, the Gen Z population will reach 2.56 billion people globally, making up 33 percent of the world’s population and becoming the largest group of consumers.
While Gen Z members are still too young or in their teenage years, and so have limited spending power, when we consider the influence they have on their parents’ spending or household consumption, they become an influential consumer segment. This is mainly thanks to the parents, family, friends and acquaintances who buy presents for them on various occasions from childhood, to teenage years, to when they enter the workplace. Furthermore, the tradition of jewelry buying, which varies between cultures, makes Gen Z an important group that will shape the industry in the future. In short, Gen Z is an influential cohort that businesses cannot afford to ignore.
Marketing jewelry to Gen Z
Given the level of exposure to technology in their upbringing, Gen Z people are considered true digital natives. They grew up with the internet, surrounded by smartphones and other digital devices. They also grew up with more liberal views on a variety of social issues and tend to be more open about sexuality, politics, universal values and environmental protection. They are tech savvy and build and maintain personal relationships on social media, such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Whisper. A generation of digital natives, they take in information instantaneously and lose interest just as fast.
To tap into Gen Z, jewelry makers need to come up with more than just accessories to wear. They need to be able to offer innovative pieces – ones with functions that can fulfil the lifestyles of Gen Z, also known as ‘smart jewelry.’ Some examples include jewelry pieces with a GPS tracker; ones that monitor your daily activities, e.g. your workouts, sleeping patterns, heart rate and step count; ones that receive notifications or message via connection to your smartphone and can change color, flash or vibrate; or eco-friendly ones, as the Gen Z population were born in an age where people care more about environmental issues and corporate sustainability. Gen Z also care about fair trade and ethical practice, which is what jewelry companies must keep in mind. This is because Gen Z grew up expecting transparency from the brands they support; they expect companies to do the right thing, not just increase their sales. Additionally, they are passionate about equality and justice. Therefore, as brand promotion goes, not only do jewelry companies need to address ethics and fair trade, but they also need to present their story on various social media, to establish a clear brand identity as a champion of these values.
At the same time, brands or marketers need to find ways to communicate with Gen Z instantaneously, as they need to convince Gen Z consumers with just a few words that resonate with them, or capture their attention in a few seconds. The marketing strategies therefore need to be brief, brilliant and relevant, otherwise Gen Z will just move on to other products or contents. Moreover, Gen Z have a different worldview and are looking for unconventionality and authenticity in marketing.
Another interesting thing about Gen Z is, 74% of them spends most of their free time online. They have little to no patience and consume more convenience items than any other generation. This is why an efficient online buying process – from ordering, delivery to returns – is all the more important and the key to winning Gen Z’s loyalty in a world full of distractions is to communicate with them regularly. This does not just mean sending out newsletters to them frequently, but interacting with them digitally – using two-way communications or group communications rather than focusing only on sending out advertisements or presenting discounts or new products to this group.
While it may seem that Gen Z’s members are hard to reach, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. To connect with the Gen Z audience, businesses must develop jewelry brands that meet their needs and conduct social media marketing with the help of internet influencers. They must have a storefront that is capable of offering outstanding experiences and activities and engage in genuine, two-way interactions with customers. They need new marketing strategies to appeal to this group that are more than just making products that meet their demands or offering customized items. They need to engage Gen Z customers, allowing them to work with designers in creating products and participate in setting ethical standards. Moreover, any marketing strategies targeting Gen Z should not only focus on Gen Z alone, but also take into account their parents or family members. Any jewelry business with the right marketing strategies that appeal to this cohort will surely succeed in turning these young digital-age consumers into their loyal customers.
1.“Deconstructing the next great jewellery-consuming generation.” by Jonathan Kendall. CIBJO SPECIAL REPORT 2019. (pp. 1-6).
2. Gem and Jewelry Information Center, The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization) / February 2020.