After Generation Y, or what many people often refer to as the “Millennials”, come Generation Z: consumers born 1995 onwards who have been raised in a digital world. This is a world that bombards them with information at an almost constant rate; a world where many goods and services are accessible at their fingertips; a world where romantic and social lives have been dominated by liking photos on the internet and sharing emojis via a chatbox.
Being born in the digital world means they have been exposed to information about brands at an early age in their lives, which makes them skeptical about the authenticity of these brands, opting instead to find experiences that are genuine and unmanufactured. Furthermore, having been raised in an uncertain economy and a fast-paced culture means they are practical, realistic, and want products that are utilitarian.
The team at Agility have been studying this market in anticipation of future trends that will shape the luxury market. Here are some of the psychographic trends, along with case studies that demonstrate effective ways to attract Generation Z in terms of product development and marketing communication.
- Top Brands in their List are Sports and Active Brands
An active and adventurous lifestyle is always on the mind of Generation Z consumers, something that we feel will still continue as they start making their own income. This is not a generation that would fancy partying at an exclusive club spending hundreds of dollars on champagne; this is a generation that prefers being outdoors and connecting with nature.
Supreme x LV
Supreme and Louis Vuitton have collaborated to launch a luxury activewear collection that has been debated by many in the industry. This marriage of trendy street fashion and luxurious materials and prestige could have the potential to attract more Generation Z consumers in the future and we can predict more luxury fashion brands will follow.
- Real quality and great design are sought after, superficial branding is avoided
Generation Z consumers are pragmatic and despise pretentiousness, always wanting to see whether the products are worth the price, partly because they have been raised by their parents to be careful with their finances, and partly because they have browsed enough information online to understand that some branding efforts are just that- branding efforts. This is also the reason why this generation would trust influencers more than brand ads.
In this 2016 campaign by Gucci, its products are displayed in a more realistic and less conspicuous manner, while maintaining its sense of artisanship and high quality design. In this one example, two models wearing top to bottom well-designed Gucci stand in a contrasting rustic looking room, to place emphasis on the actual products themselves – no gimmick.
- Innovation Marketing, the science and technology behind the product rather than its arts and tradition
Luxury has often been associated with the arts; they are supposed to be beautiful, unique, and non-utilitarian. But for Generation Z consumers, whose lives have been all about how innovations can increase the efficiency of their day to day activities, and whose aspirations tend to revolve around inventing something and or launching a start-up; associating luxury with something as intangible as the fine arts or tradition could be a little bit of a hit-and-miss, even when the latter might be attractive considering Generation Z consumers want authenticity.
Omega Speedmaster MoonWatch
Science and technology do not always have to mean boring and dreary; they can also invoke a sense of wonderment. An excellent example Omega’s Speedmaster Moon Watch, which claims to be the first and only watch worn on the moon by astronauts. By showing Generation Z this kind of imagery, three things are implied: that Omega’s watches are so innovative that they can withstand the pressure in space; that they evoke a sense of adventure; and that only a select accomplished few can wear them.
What does this mean for brands?
The three insights and case studies shown above might be contrarian to how many people define luxury: activewear vs formalwear, product-focused vs lifestyle, innovation vs tradition, science vs the arts. However, this might be a reality many luxury marketers must face when marketing to the Generation Z consumers in the future.
We are not arguing that the luxury industry must redefine what constitutes luxury goods, we are through our research suggesting a different way to communicate the products to this generation that is weary of the same old story.
But continuous research still need to be done to understand this key segment better. One thing is for sure that they are changing as fast as the technology they use, and we are here to help brands achieve that better understanding. It is, after all, an experiment to be taken on, but one that might be worth the effort.