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Meet Your Newest Customers: Generation Z

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If you’ve started to suffer from MHO (Millennial Hype Overload), rest easy: Generation Z is coming.  OK, so the oldest are just 19 years of age, but marketers are already beginning to try to break down and classify this cohort that will outnumber its older Millennial siblings by about one million.  As this generation comes of age, how will their jewelry buying habits differ?

Trace
Shelton



Editor-in-Chief
of INDESIGN Magazine and Contributing Editor of INSTORE.
I

f you’ve started to suffer from MHO (Millennial Hype Overload), rest easy: Generation Z is coming.  OK, so the oldest are just 19 years of age, but marketers are already beginning to try to break down and classify this cohort that will outnumber its older Millennial siblings by about one million.  As this generation comes of age, how will their jewelry buying habits differ?

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While there’s no definitive answer since they haven’t reached jewelry buying age yet, there are clues that can help jewelers begin thinking about how to reach future Generation Z buyers.  They will be like the Millennials in their technological savvy – most will not remember a time before social media, and their attention span is here one second and gone the next.  But one major difference is that where Millennials hang their dirty laundry out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the world to see, Generation Z is much more privacy-conscious, preferring media like Snapchat, Secret and Whisper, where anything incriminating disappears after a short amount of time.  They’ve seen the price their elder brothers and sisters have paid for their hubris, and they’ve learned from it.

This caution will extend to other decisions as well.  Just as Millennials echoed their Baby Boomer parents’ larger-than-life characteristics, Generation Z will take after their Generation X parents’ safety-conscious, jaded outlook.  They’ve grown up in a post-9/11 world that’s undergone recessions and a growing sense of political discord.  As a result, Generation Z will place great importance on being “mature and in control,” according to a Sparks & Honey trend report. 

The New York Times recently asserted that Generation Z’s sense of privacy, caution and sensible careers reminds some of the Silent Generation who were shaped by the Great Depression and World War 2.  That generation was incredibly career-oriented, and was also one of the richest generations in history.

If that does indeed hold true of Generation Z, jewelry retailers will do well to emphasize security and safety in their presentations, emphasizing warranties, reliability and trustworthiness.  They will be extraordinarily discreet and will prioritize value as much as flash.  Certainly, the kids of Generation Z enjoy having fun as much as the next person, but they prefer to do so while maintaining their privacy and sense of well-being.

For more details on Generation Z, check out this New York Times article here.

 

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