Gen Z want brands to use normal and diverse people in ads

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 6 July 2020

Generation Z want brands to represent normal and diverse people in their imagery instead of traditional glossy depictions of unattainable lifestyles used in advertising.

According to Afterpay's Global Gen Z Report: Financial Feels, this generation also prefers a stripped-back version of beauty and lo-fi looks on social media which has seen the rising popularity of platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

The generation, born between 1995 and 2012, also has a short attention span, having grown up scrolling, clicking and using multiple screens at once.

Instead, they look for stand-out marketing that engages: brands only have a short window of eight seconds to capture their attention.

Born into the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, Gen Z consumers are seeking financial wellness and flexibility over financial anxiety.

These consumers are re-assessing the role of money in their lives, rejecting overt displays of wealth, or wealth hoarding.

Instead, they are focused on being financially in control, a trend which the impact of COVID-19 has cemented for this generation.

Gen Z have embraced apps and services that lead them to feel confident and calm, and promote their financial wellbeing.

They are also more entrepreneurial than previous generations, using side-hustles to raise as much as $14,455 a year over normal incomes. 72% want to start their own business.

Some 42% expect to work for themselves while 65% are confident they will experience more financial success than their parents.

As a generation who grew up with stop-anytime subscriptions including Netflix and Spotify, Gen Z like to maximise flexibility within their lifestyles.

The ability to turn on and off commitments in their life is paramount and leads to a generation who prefer to lease, rent and share so they have the financial freedom to spend their money on what’s most important to them without being tied down.

Gen Z are also wary of how their data is used, particularly if it is used beyond the core purpose of a service, but accept that it is a necessary evil. They are happy for it to be exchanged in return for a tailored and convenient service.

As a generation who care about combating waste pollution, fashion is a paradoxical industry.

While convenience is key, Gen Z also cares about sustainability: they like to buy from community-driven labels as well as fast fashion.

Unlike Millennials who prefer authentic or craft labels, Gen Z will combine the smaller labels powered by social media with international brands which are available locally.

Gen Z are proactive, purposeful and progressive and seek brands that demonstrate these values with 89% saying it’s necessary for brands to do something to help with COVID-19.

As a group, they expect fashion and beauty retailers to embrace circular economy waste practices, with pre-owned fashion and accessories appearing in department stores, and thrift apps like Depop spiking as new retail formats.

“As a generation who has a firm grasp of the role finance plays in their lives, Gen Z Aussies are emerging as a self-motivated generation that pay, play and save differently from the Millennials that came before them," Afterpay co-founder Nick Molnar says.

“As an increasingly influential demographic, the report focuses on trends across the globe and shares insights into how Gen Z are helping to shape the future of brands.”

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