Brace for Impact: Generation Z Starting to Exhibit Retail Muscle

January 25, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The change between generations in terms of overall shopping power has long been a bone of contention.

The most common question: how do we react to this new generation? While retailers will definitely have their work cut out for them, mobile payments operations will likewise have to adapt to the changing landscape.

Word from HRC Retail Advisory noted that, by 2020, 40 percent of the North American population would be made up of Generation Z members. That’s a massive market, and one no one can readily afford to bypass lightly. These are individuals aged between 10 and 17, and while that may not immediately represent a lot of cash, the buying decisions these young folks make now will resonate through the years.

Interestingly, Generation Z also has an impact on their parents’ purchases, so these young folks might well be cutting into the millennial and even Generation X market purchases. Almost 82 percent of Generation Z parents admitted that their children are actually playing a role in their own buying decisions.

While a majority—54 percent—visit YouTube every day, around 60 percent visit a shopping mall at least once a month where applicable.

Sixty-two percent of Generation Z considers its friends to have the most impact on buying decisions, and around half shop at least once a month, which paints a clear picture of how to respond going forward for retailers and even for mobile payments providers.

While Generation Z doesn’t appear to be quite so digitally fixated as millennials were—between the mall shopping and reports that Generation Z still uses paper cash on many occasions, it’s clear Generation Z doesn’t share the same all-digital-almost-all-the-time approach millennials do—there’s still a lot of room for mobile payments to succeed here.

A split focus between online shopping and physical shopping should help keep the Generation Z customers interested, and promotional efforts should go on with a YouTube focus online as well as on word-of-mouth advertising.

Generation Z is likely to change the market when it arrives in earnest in a few years, but starting to connect to this market now is likely to pay dividends in grand style down the line. Good news today can meant great news tomorrow, not just for retailers, but for mobile payments providers too.