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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

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America Now: Gen Z Women Key Issue – Sexism

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn how Gen Z women stand out for their prioritization of reducing sexism.

2017 was a pivotal year for women in the U.S. The day after President Trump was inaugurated, millions of Americans across the U.S. participated in the largest single-day protest – The Women’s March – to support gender equality and protest the President’s anti-women statements. Later that year, the #MeToo movement gained momentum as more women broke their silence as survivors of sexual abuse and revealed the prevalence of sexual violence against women. With increased visibility on women’s issues, women have reported that their gender identity has become more important to them over the past few years. This is especially true of Gen Z women; 55% agree that their gender is now a more important aspect of their identity than it used to be. Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how Americans’ identities shape their views on social and political issues, and what they expect from brands like yours in engaging with these issues.

In a recent study, Collage Group asked Americans what three social and political issues are most important to them and found that Gen Z women are unique in wanting to see the reduction of sexism in society. 33% of Gen Z women feel reducing sexism is one of the most important social or political issues today, compared to just 10% of Millennial women, 7% of Gen X women, and 3% of Boomer women.

Gen Z women’s perceptions on the importance of reducing sexism is even more pronounced when it comes to their support of brands. Over half of Gen Z women will reward brands that support reducing sexism. And while older women tend to prioritize other social and political issues over sexism, many are still more likely to support brands that will confront sexism.

Across generations, women want brands to address sexism by paying them equally to men for the same jobs and offering training for employees so they can identify sexism and combat it. Gen Z women, however, stand out from older women by wanting brands to address sexism in other ways too. Half of Gen Z women also want brands to hire women to leadership positions. And over one in four want brands to make public statements about sexism and donate money to organizations that work to reduce sexism.

Contact us to find out how you can access the full America Now report with these insights and much more.

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America Now: Younger LGBTQ+ Americans Have High Expectations for Brands

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America Now: Younger LGBTQ+ Americans Have High Expectations for Brands

This research is part of a series that expands on our 2021 Roundtable Presentation, America Now. Read on to learn more about LGBTQ+ consumers, their perspective on gender and sexual identities, and what they expect from brands like yours.

Brands can better engage with consumers by understanding how they view different aspects of their own identity. Race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, and gender are just a few of the many elements of a person’s identity impacting how people see themselves and shaping their expectations for brands. LGBTQ+ Americans, especially those who are younger, tell us that their sexuality is becoming an increasingly important aspect of their identity. As a result, brands have to step up their inclusive marketing practices and oftentimes that means deftly engaging with social and political issues.

In a recent survey, Collage Group asked people to choose the most important aspect of their identity. Personality came out on top, followed by race, and country of origin. Just 8 percent of LGBTQ+ people responded that sexuality is the most important aspect of their identity. However, the importance of sexual identity is on the rise for this segment. Over 50 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that their sexuality has become an increasingly important part of their identity in recent years. This is especially true for those between the ages of 18 and 40 years old. Younger LGBTQ+ are also significantly more likely to say their sexuality plays an increasingly important role in their identity than older LGBTQ+ Americans.

Importance of Sexual Identity for LGBTQ+ People

As sexuality becomes a more important element in how LGBTQ+ see themselves, brands must improve their efforts to accurately represent sexuality and gender in advertising — especially when targeting younger and multicultural LGBTQ+ consumers. Only 39 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents say they’re satisfied with portrayals of their sexuality in advertising, significantly less than the approximately 53 percent of non-LGBTQ+ respondents who agree. Seeing their own sexual identity portrayed in advertising matters a lot to 42 percent of young LGBTQ+, significantly higher than older LGBTQ+ respondents. Similarly, for gender portrayals, over a third of all LGBTQ+ say it matters a lot to see advertisements with people of the same gender identity. Doing this comes with great benefits, as young LGBTQ+ are more likely to buy products and services from brands that challenge gender stereotypes in their advertisements.

LBTBQ+ Americans identify more with their sexuality

Beyond mere representation in advertising, LGBTQ+ consumers also desire to see brands engage in social and political issues impacting their community. About 40 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents agree that brands should focus on social and political issues even if they don’t directly relate to their products and services. 

Overall, most LGBTQ+ respondents prefer brands to get involved by educating consumers about LGBTQ+ rights and discrimination. However, young LGBTQ+ consumers would also like to see brands hire more LGBTQ+ in leadership positions and donate to LGBTQ+ causes.

America Now - LGBTQ and Identity - Collage Group

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

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Most Americans (58%) Want Businesses to Engage in Social and Political Issues

One in Four Gen Z Consumers Will Stop Buying from Brands That Do Not Take a Stance on an Important Issue

November 10th, 2021
Mollie Turner – Senior Director of Marketing

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American consumers are experiencing a second year of unprecedented change, giving 2020 solid competition for an emerging set of challenges for U.S. businesses. Political polarization, COVID-19, race relations, immigration, LGBTQ+ rights and climate change have been top of mind for consumers this year–leading to shifts in consumer expectations of businesses.

“Most Americans want brands to engage in social and political issues,” says David Wellisch, Collage Group CEO and Co-Founder. “The numbers are even more striking when we look by specific issues. For example, 85% of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact. And, then there’s the stick—we see younger Americans, bicultural Hispanics, and Black Americans are much more willing to penalize brands for non-action on issues they see as important.”

These are just a few of the many datapoints on shifts in American consumer behaviors since 2020 available in Collage Group’s America Now: How We Have Changed Since 2020 report. Research led by Chief Product Officer David Evans, Senior Director of Product & Content Bryan Miller, PhD, and Director of Product & Content Jack Mackinnon, unveils changes to diverse consumer attitudes at a key juncture in American history. The results come from a survey fielded in September 2021 of 3,785 Americans, representing Americans across race, ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender.

Fill out the form to view a recording and download a sample from our research presentation, Multicultural America Now.

Multicultural America Now

Key insights illuminated in the research include:

  1. Most Americans (58%) Want Brands to Engage in Social and Political Issues
      • Stopping COVID-19, improving race relations and halting climate change are the top three social and political issues consumers want brands to support.
      • The majority (85%) of Americans want brands to play a role in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and alleviating its impact.
      • The majority (59%) of Americans believe corporations bear the responsibility of fighting climate change – not individuals.
      • The majority (55%) of consumers across all generations acknowledge the urgency of taking action on climate change.
  2. Race and Ethnicity is the #1 Way Multicultural Americans Self-Identify, Regardless of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, or Sexuality­
      • Race and Hispanic ethnicity are the most common self-descriptors for multicultural Americans, ranking higher than personality, age/life stage, country of origin, being American, sexuality, gender and more.
      • Multicultural Americans report an increased interest in buying from brands that support people of their racial and ethnic background—an ~11% increase on average in 2021 comes on top of a 2020 baseline of ~52% of consumers.
  3. Empathetic Gen Z Support Black and LGBTQ+ Americans Much More Than Older Generations (+15%)
      • The majority of Gen Z consumers wants brands to support women (56%) and Black Americans (55%).
      • Inaction is risky for brands with younger consumers, as 26% of Gen Z would stop using or buying a brand if it did not take a stance on an important issue.
  4. COVID-19 Worries Remain for Two-Thirds of Americans, and Their Concern Is Tied Primarily to Economic Factors (64%)
      • Nearly two-thirds of Americans are still concerned about COVID-19, with Asian Americans feeling the most concern at 72%, up 4% since 2020.
      • Most Americans (64%) are concerned they may not have enough money to keep up with monthly expenses; Hispanic Americans are the most concerned with 3 in 4 (74%) citing the concern.
  5. Many Multicultural Americans Have Reprioritized What Matters Most to Them vs. One Year Ago
      • Multicultural Americans say being happy and healthy (41%), saving money (33%) and supporting family and community (27%) are now their top priorities.
      • The majority (54%) of Hispanic Americans say being healthy and happy is much more important to them today than it was one year ago.

“Engaging authentically with an increasingly diverse America can be hard, and missteps are easy,” says David Wellisch. “But our research illustrates that not engaging is not an option, especially during challenging times. This is consumer expectation.”

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Mollie Turner

Mollie Turner
Senior Director of Marketing

Mollie Turner is the Senior Director of Marketing at Collage Group where she leads growth, engagement and brand initiatives. She is a seasoned marketing and communications executive, with 20 years of experience spanning B2B, non-profit and agency roles across various industries.

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Fundamentals of Generational Marketing: Passion Points

Fundamentals of Generational Marketing: Passion Points
Passion Points are the activities and areas of life people are deeply interested in.
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They are the “things” that people prioritize when spending their time, money, and attention. They are concrete expressions of culture. This research offers brands and marketers important insights to win over consumers from all generational cohorts.

Learn more in this download from our Engage Gen Z and Millennial Passion Points presentation.

Engage Gen Z and Millennial Passion Points

What matters most to Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z?

Our topline results show that consumers generally opt for TV and Movies, Music, and Food. Boomers and Gen Z consumers tend to have more fluctuations in their passions with higher peaks and lower valleys than Gen X and Millennials. Boomers are more likely to say they are interested in religion, while Gen Z over-indexes in music and games. Gen Xers often find themselves between Millennials and Boomers, such as their passion for traveling. 

Millennials, known for their love of new experiences, are significantly more interested in staying active than the older two generations.

Beyond these top-line results, we have much insight as to which generational cohorts over or under-index on various topics such as movies & tv shows, music, food and travel.

Here are four important data points from the study:

1. Movies & TV Shows

On the left, you see the favorite movie genres for the total population. Comedy and Action/Adventure are the overall winners. On the right, though, we see the responses of each generational cohort.

Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to prefer genres like horror (Gen Z), fantasy, and animation, including anime. Gen X and Boomers, however, are more likely to choose a drama, thriller, or science fiction option.

2. Music & Audio

Looking through the chart, you’ll see that the generations have distinct tastes in music genres – at least between older and younger generations. For the total population, Rock is most popular, with 42 percent of consumers saying it is in their top three music genres. But both younger generations under-index on rock music. Especially Gen Z, where only 25 percent say they choose rock. Gen Z and Millennials over-index on liking Hip-Hop and R&B and are more open to K-pop as well.

This is aligned with what we know about younger generations generally – they’re more racially and ethnically diverse, and this is reflected in their diverse music tastes as well.

3. Food

When it comes to food, one big question is whether American consumers consider themselves “foodies,” who prioritize taste and experiential eating, or “health nuts,” who prioritize nutrition and diets. 

Here, we see that more Americans consider themselves “Foodies” than “Health Nuts.”

We also see some interesting generational variation here.

On the left, we see that about half of Americans consider themselves “Foodies,” and that Millennials – at 61 percent – is more likely than all other generations to believe this.  And on the right, we see that less than a third of the total population considers themselves “health nuts.” Gen Z and Gen X consumers hold to that average, but the big differences lie between Millennials and Boomers. 

So far, we’ve seen a lot of trends hold to a younger vs older dichotomy, but when it comes to food-related identity, Millennials really stand out as being food-focused. Boomers are not as focused on considering themselves a foodie or a health nut. While most Americans call themselves “foodies,” Millennial Americans lead the “health nut” trend.

4. Travel

For many people, the main tossup is between domestic versus international travel.

On average at the total population level, consumers are pretty split between the two, but preference for domestic taking a slight lead.

However when we break the data down by generation, we see a pretty clear pattern amongst consumers. 

Younger people have a distinctly stronger desire to travel abroad – especially Gen Z, at 61%, they are significantly more likely than all other generations. Millennials are an even split. Older generations are where we see a stronger preference for domestic travel. Boomers are the most likely generation to prefer traveling within the US over traveling abroad – about three in four. Perhaps driven by a desire to stay closer to home.

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Principles for Engaging Younger, More Diverse Consumers: Deep Dive into Gen Z

Principles for Engaging Younger, More Diverse Consumers: Deep Dive into Gen Z
Understanding America’s Diverse Consumers

Gen Z, the generation born from 1997 to 2012, is one of America’s most influential consumer segments.

One in five Americans are part of this generation and it is the second largest: at 75.6 million people, Gen Z is only slightly smaller than the Millennial generation at 75.8 million. These younger consumers, now 8-to-23 years old, are highly invested in their beliefs and passions, and orient toward inclusion and diversity not seen in older generations.

How can you capture the growing influence and expenditure of this influential, younger consumer segment and earn their loyalty for years to come?

Understanding the unique characteristics of Gen Z Americans – from trends and experiences to expression and entertainment – can help you authentically engage. In April 2021, Collage Group’s Chief Product Officer David Evans explored key areas of our consumer fundamentals for Gen Z in this deep dive presentation hosted by the Insights Association.

Fill out the form to watch the full presentation and download an excerpt of the deck.

In the full presentation you’ll find a deep dive into Gen Z demographics and economic opportunity, identity-related marketing expectations, cultural traits and passion points. Read below for a five key insights into Gen Z consumers.

1. Gen Z is coming of age in an intrinsically diverse society, with multicultural consumers representing nearly half of all Gen Z Americans.

This generation is among the first in American history to be defined by the multicultural experience, and 27% of Gen Z are first- or second-generation Americans. You cannot appeal to Gen Z Americans without respecting their complex set of identities.

2. Younger generations, specifically Gen Z, are increasingly likely to identify as LGBTQ+.

This is an interesting phenomenon we identified in our research on consumer identity, which suggests that as society is more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, and people discover the myriad possible identities out there, young people are more willing to embrace their LGBTQ+ identities.

3. Gen Z is on track to be the most educated generation, but this comes at the steepest price in history.

Those entering collage now face approximately $37,650 in tuition and fees for attending a private, nonprofit four-year university.

The confluence of high levels of education, at a high cost, and the difficult economic and social realities of our current climate play into the cultural traits we’ve identified for Gen Z, specifically “pressured” and “skeptical”.

4. Gen Z has grown up in a period of unprecedented uncertainty, adding even more layers to the stresses of adolescence and young adulthood.

Most recently, amid pandemic, economic recession, political polarization and social justice movements, Gen Z has had a lot to bear within a very short span of time. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is struggling to find balance between meeting others’ expectations and living their desired lives – and much more so than other generations.

5. Gen Z Americans see many challenges standing in the way of their futures that society has failed to address.

These young consumers tend not to trust many institutions and believe brands and corporations should play a role in addressing the problems they face.

Are you interested in learning more about Gen Z consumers and how to apply these insights to your campaigns?

Collage Group’s consumer research database now contains insights from hundreds of studies, thousands of questions and millions of data points on American consumers across ethnicity, generation, sexuality and gender. With more than 35 original studies released each year, you can dive deeper into the cultural traits, identity, passion points and more of Gen Z Americans, as well as other high-grow diverse consumers.

Through our Generations consumer research platform you can access to the insights you need to understand and engage the attitudes, behaviors and values of all generational segments: Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X and Boomer. Contact us to learn more.

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Five Essential Things To Know About Gen Z Consumers in 2021

Five Essential Things To Know About Gen Z Consumers

Want to better connect with Gen Z? Read on for 5 takeaways and a presentation centered on enhancing your brand's ability to authentically connect with the Gen Z generational cohort.

Collage Group’s Essentials of Gen Z consumers presentation explores three areas of our consumer fundamentals research for the generational: demographics and economic opportunity, identity related marketing expectations, and Cultural Traits. Read below for several takeaways and then fill out the form to download an excerpt of the study.

Gen Z Essential Traits

1. Gen Z (aged 8-24yrs old in 2021) are more diverse than older generations. In fact, Gen Z is on the doorstep of becoming a majority minority cohort; 49% of the generation are people of color. Gen Z’s intrinsic diversity equates to greater expectations for inclusive marketing practices.

2. Gen Z is also significantly more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ than older generations. The difference between older Millennials (31-39 yrs. old) and older Gen Z (18-23yrs old), alone, is sharp: almost twice as many older Gen Z Americans identify as LGBTQ+ than their Millennial counterparts.

3. New Wave generations – Gen Z and Millennials—are more likely to say they go out of their way to support inclusive brands. Gen Z were also the only generation that included looking for brands that support LGBTQ+ and racial justice in their top five priorities.

4. Gen Z is uniquely open about their sexuality. This is even significantly different from Millennials. 20% Gen Z claim their sexuality as a primary means of self-identification. That’s a stark break from previous generations, where sexual identity is more of a taboo subject.

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Four Group Traits That Best Characterize Millennial Consumers

Four Traits That Best Characterize Millennial Consumers

Our newly updated Millennial Cultural Traits provides powerful new insights into America’s largest generation and one of its most diverse.

One in five Americans are Millennials, the generation born from 1980 through 1996.

As of 2021, this segment is now ages 24-41, with the entire generation of working age, and many now entering parenthood. To capture the growing influence and expenditures of this consumer segment, brands and marketers must deepen their understanding of Millennials.

Which Group Traits best characterize Millennials?

The four Group Traits which best characterize the Millennial segment are AmbitionGo-with-the-Flow, Cosmopolitan, and Tuned-in.

1. Ambition

People sharing the Group Trait of Ambition are driven to succeed, and to focus on the necessary steps towards achieving their goals.

These individuals are most attuned to the future impacts of their daily choices, especially when they know what might make or break their grand aspirations.

Millennials are a generation that’s been dealt a heavy hand. They’ve now lived through not one, but two economic recessions. Many came of age in a poor job market in the late 2000s, stunting their career. And on top of it all, they face rising costs such as tuition, healthcare, and housing. These circumstances have necessitated a “sink or swim” attitude, and Millennials responded by acting towards securing a better future for themselves. They’re the most educated generation to date, they’re borderline “workaholic,” and they take their side hustles seriously – all in pursuit of security.

Although Hispanic Americans firmly believe in keeping and cultivating their cultural heritage, they have had to adapt culturally as immigrants and minorities. As a result, duality is their reality—they seamlessly navigate both worlds with a cultural fluidity that is easy and authentic.

Millennials are always on the grind, so it’s important to offer them ways to be more efficient – to get even more accomplished with less time or effort.

Position your brand as a resource to help them overcome obstacles and achieve success. Celebrate Millennials’ intense dedication, something they probably don’t hear enough amidst the “lazy” and “entitled” stereotypes. And finally, remind them it’s okay to take a break, practice self-care, and treat themselves.

2. Go-with-the-Flow

People sharing the Group Trait of Go-with-the-Flow feel a resilience and contentment towards life.

These individuals are more likely to express a “ce’est la vie” attitude towards their personal situations, accepting that their fates are largely out of their own hands.

Millennials are keenly aware of the twists and turns of life. While many grew up during the booming 80s and 90s, they’ve now experienced several decades of rapid and dramatic change including the 9/11 attacks, the Great Recession of 2008, and the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing recession of 2020. Facing uncertainty is a defining factor of their lifetimes. These young Americans have learned to go with the flow of life and expect the unexpected. They’re resilient and take what life throws at them, while remaining staunchly optimistic.

At the core of it all, Millennials want empathy, so show sensitivity to their unique struggles.

Take a realistic tone when appealing to them. Encourage hope without discounting the realities of the world. And don’t be afraid to use humor to diffuse the tension – to them, this shows that you understand what they’re going through.

3. Cosmopolitan

People sharing the Group Trait of Cosmopolitan value spending time with people of diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

These individuals are more likely to seek out opportunities to engage with people from different cultural backgrounds than their own.

Millennials are an inherently diverse generation that craves novelty and wide-reaching experiences. Many Millennials seek to understand their own diverse heritage as a way to find meaning in a world that has proven unpredictable. And they welcome cultural and personal diversity in their social circles, hobbies, and activities as a way to experience the world in its full complexity.

There’s never been a better time to lean into diversity, and when you do, Millennials will be here for it!

Millennials are often known as the “experiences” generation, and much of what’s driving their thirst for adventure is a desire to experience other cultures. Whether through food, music, history, or more, give Millennials a reason to step outside the box of their everyday lives. Position your products as a way to learn about and experience other cultures.

4. Tuned-In

People sharing the Group Trait of Tuned-In want to keep up with the current cultural moment, especially when it comes to entertainment.

These individuals are more likely to seek out and participate in the latest of trends and popular culture, and to have little shame in going along with “mainstream” tastes.

Millennials—like previous generations their age—desire to be in-the-know when it comes to trends and pop culture. But unlike previous generations, Millennials grew up through the transition of unparalleled technological innovations, inciting a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and a need to keep up with their changing world. Along the way, technology offered them greater access to culture, trends, and news, spawning deep interests across a variety of topics.

Brands have ample opportunity to play in this space.

This can be as simple as building hype around brand or product news, even if it’s small, to give Millennials something to be excited about. Stay up to date on the pop culture trends Millennials are into so you can connect with them on topics they’re passionate about. And finally, repackage your content in multiple formats, like shows, podcasts, memes, and social media posts to reach Millennials through the multitude of channels they use to stay in-the-know.

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Four Group Traits That Best Characterize the Gen Z Consumer Segment

Four Group Traits That Best Characterize the Gen Z Consumer Segment

Our Gen Z Cultural Traits research provides powerful new insights into America’s youngest and still-emerging consumer demographic. Read on to discover the four essential traits you need to know about Gen Z consumers.

One in five Americans are members of Gen Z, the generation born from 1997 through 2012. As of 2020, this segment is now ages 8-23, with many now finishing their education and (attempting to) enter the workforce. To capture the growing influence and expenditures of this consumer segment, brands and marketers must deepen their understanding of Gen Z.

Download an excerpt from our presentation, Appeal to Gen Z Cultural Traits:

Across the last several years, Collage Group has been developing powerful new tools to help brands become more Culturally Fluent. Our Cultural Traits are central to this effort. These data-driven tools provide measures of cultural variation that reveal insights into the similarities and differences across consumer segments.

Which Group Traits best characterize the Gen Z segment?

The four Group Traits which best characterize the Gen Z segment are Pressured, Skeptical, Recognition-Seeking, and Self-Expression.

1. Pressured

People sharing the Group Trait of Pressured tend to feel overwhelmed by their many obligations.

A major source of tension with these individuals is balancing the expectations of achieving external measures of success with the desire to live life the way they truly want to.

Gen Z faces a variety of life-stage pressures which manifest in ways no generation has seen before. Family pressures can be rather intense in the face of households navigating multiple economic disasters in the span of only a decade. Social pressures are more pronounced in the age of social media, where “fitting in” requires constant participation in the editing and filtering of one’s everyday life. And pressures to succeed academically and in the workforce have just recently hit a major roadblock in the combined recession and social distancing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amidst these pressures, it is important to remind Gen Z consumers that they need to take care of themselves. Despite “self-care” having youthful connotations, America’s youngest consumers are the least likely to prioritize their health – physical, mental, or otherwise. 

2. Skeptical

People sharing the Group Trait of Skeptical lack confidence in their own specific futures and life journeys. Not seeing much to be hopeful for in the world around them, these individuals are more likely to fear the worst and worry about whatever lies ahead.

From Gen Z’s perspective, it makes sense to be worried about the future. From the ever-looming existential threat of climate change to increasing awareness of racism, sexism, wealth inequality, and gun violence, much seems to stand in the way of young consumers living happy and fulfilling lives. Gen Z doesn’t have faith in many traditional institutions as they currently operate, and they are on the lookout for new and innovative solutions.

And Gen Z is very open to brands being part of these solutions. These young consumers are most likely to say that companies and organizations should play an active role in addressing social issues, even if there is no direct relation to their product or category. 

3. Recognition-Seeking

People sharing the Group Trait of Recognition-Seeking are proud of their accomplishments and want to receive external recognition for their good work. These consumers are therefore more receptive to positive reinforcement, through reminders of what they have already accomplished and what they still stand to achieve.

Amidst all of today’s challenges and uncertainties, Gen Z wants to know they are on the right track. Moreover, these young consumers know they will have to distinguish themselves to get ahead in an increasingly competitive and specialized workforce. As a result, Gen Z prizes being perceived as intelligent, interesting, and successful at what they do.

But these young consumers also recognize the essential contributions others have had in their success. In the digital age, there is a growing awareness of reliance on shared platforms for educational, professional, and personal achievement. 

4. Self-Expression

People sharing the Group Trait of Self-Expression have talent and creative potential they can’t wait to share with the world. These individuals know they have something special to offer, and they are therefore more likely to take whatever opportunities they can find to broadcast their craft and artistry.

For Gen Z, Self-Expression is an important means of exploring and refining their individual senses of identity. Gen Z is more likely than any other generation to describe themselves to others based on their hobbies and special interests. Expressing these interests through creative outlets – including social media – is therefore a more personal affair than it might be for older consumers. Brands have ample opportunity, then, to facilitate Gen Z’s exploration and expression of identity.

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The Self-Aware Generation: How Gen Z Consumers Choose to Self-Identify

The Self-Aware Generation: How Gen Z Consumers Choose to Self-Identify
From sexuality to star signs, Gen Z self-identifies in more ways than older consumers. Here’s what brands need to know to activate on the many ways America’s youngest consumers self-identify.
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Gen Z has grown up in an increasingly diverse and polarized America. At the same time, social media continues to generate new universes of micro-communities, each creating new ways to self-identify. As a result, these young consumers embrace more and more what makes them different, as individuals, rather than what makes them the same as everyone around them.

Given the vast landscape of identities open to Gen Z, it is essential for brands to understand what, if anything, these young consumers do hold in common. Here are some key insights to get you started:

Fill out the form to view a sample from our research on consumer attitudes and behaviors around
Gen Z Essential Traits & Self-Identity.

1. Gen Z is the most self-aware of its status as a “generation”.

All individuals born from 1997 through 2012 can claim membership in Generation Z, which follows Generation Y, or the “Millennial” Generation. While there is not yet final consensus on whether Gen Z will receive such a title, we see tremendous interest within the generation in using whatever words are available for self-identification. Almost half of Gen Z consumers use their generational identity to describe themselves to others, with statistically significant differences from each of the other generational segments. With phrases like “ok boomer” and “zoomer humor” ever-present in the Gen Z lexicon, generational identity is very real for these youngest of adult consumers.

2. Gen Z is most likely to think sexuality is important to identity.

Today’s young consumers live in a world which not only accepts sexual identity, but also encourages individuals to celebrate and explore their own sexuality. Gen Z is the most likely generation to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community,  and 1 in 5 Gen Z consumers say that sexuality is one of the most important aspects of their identities for self-description, with statistically significant differences from each of the other generational segments. Understanding the LGBTQ+ segment will only increase in importance for brands hoping to earn market share with this segment.

3. Gen Z continues the Millennial trend of embracing “alternative” sources of identity – astrology included!

While they’re not likely to be checking the morning papers for their daily horoscopes, roughly 2 in 5 Gen Z and Millennial consumers leverage the Western zodiac as a tool for self-identification. Apps and online resources allow consumers to gain hyper-personalized “insight” into their astrological identities through star charts and compatibility analysis with contacts who also use the same platforms. Additionally, the Gen Z meme ecosystem provides (often humorous) content which reinforces associations between star signs and individual personality. These webs of association also offer plenty of space for brands to make connections with their product offerings.

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Collage Group Puts Brands and Ads at the Center of Membership in 2020

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Collage Group 2020: Putting Brands & Ads at the Center of Membership
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Three factors are leading us to change our research model to put your category, brands and ads at the center of everything we do.

Learn more about our 2020 research agenda and how our syndicated research platform can help you save money and time.

Factor 1. Every Brand Now Faces Three Moments of Truth with Multicultural America

When it comes to high likelihood that your next consumer is multicultural, ask yourself these questions. 

Do you really understand this consumer?  Do you understand her category-specific motivations, behaviors and needs?  And finally, are you activating with culturally fluent brand equities that drive cross-over appeal?

Factor 2: The Rise of the “New Wave,” The First Generation That is Intrinsically Diverse

We recognize that the evolving population dynamic in America has now firmly placed multicultural at the center of all marketing. It’s not just that Multicultural is big, it’s that Multicultural influences all other demographics.

This is especially true for the generation of Americans between 18-39, which we call the “New Wave.”  This generation is the first to grow up in what we call an intrinsically diverse environment.  While far more diverse, the New Wave share an orientation toward inclusion and diversity not seen in older generations.

And they are now rapidly increasing their spend.

Factor 3: The Cultural Fluency Imperative

Our mission is to help our members increase Cultural Fluency, not just better target specific ethnic segments.  Cultural Fluency is the ability to use culture to connect effectively and efficiently across segments.

We have therefore now invested heavily to offer three new research initiatives that place category, brands, and ads at the center of everything we do.

The Category Essentials: Insights into How Diverse America Views Your Category

With our sharp understanding of cultural variation at the category level, we can reveal distinctive behaviors, motivations, and usage patterns that arise due to culture.

We will extend the reach of our cultural attributes and group traits methodology to help brands better understand the efficiencies and opportunities that stem from putting culture at the center.

“CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand:” Measuring the Cultural Fluency of Your Ads and Brands

Our vision is to build a database that measures the Cultural Fluency of both our member’s brands, their advertising and their category peers.

By building a database on the Cultural Fluency of America’s leading brands and ads we hope to motivate more inclusive advertising that drives up Cultural Fluency across every category. Using CultureRate:Ad and CultureRate:Brand to measure performance is a critical first step to Cultural Fluency.

Cultural Fluency Solutions

Finally we recognize that even this new level of detail about your categories, brands and ads will not answer all your questions, nor should it. For this reason, we are upgrading our entire suite of custom engagements to put cultural fluency at the center, to extend the authenticity and impact of all your marketing.

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