The first generation to grow up with continuous connectivity are entering adulthood, joining the workforce, and bringing their spending power online. With radically different expectations to how goods and services should be delivered and communication norms, they will press many traditional workflows, services, and relationships to a “digital-only” paradigm.
Social media has forever shaped how this generation learns, communicates, and watches. Yet in the process, it has made them realize that digital interaction is not a proxy for community. The platforms that successfully re-integrate a generation that has been starved for physical community will win the next social network game.
Having experienced instant P2P transactions and same-day delivery from day one, this generation is accustomed to seamless and streamlined digital experiences. To them, any process or transaction that doesn’t take place on a mobile device is foreign; postage is totally alien. To capture their engagement, interfaces must not merely be “mobile first,” but “mobile-only.”
Deeply skeptical of traditional marketing channels, digital dependents usually get product recommendations from trusted friends and influencers. What’s important to them is not necessarily the official stance of a company, but if the brand’s image is consistent with their actions -- perceived hypocrisies and scandals will be surfaced immediately.
Witnessing how previous generations suffered through a housing bust, the recession, and student loans, Gen-Z is proving to take their finances into their own hands. Through gigs, affiliate marketing, and investments, the digital dependents are more eager to earn than any other in history. Gamifying employment and investing will be crucial to winning over new entrants to the hustle game.