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Why Generation Z Doesn’t Behave Like You Might Expect

by Sabrina Gravlee | December 15, 2016

At 26, I have no illusions about where I fall on the generation spectrum. I’m a solid Millennial with the Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook accounts to prove it.

So this fall, when we data analysts at the Marchex Institute set out to uncover the behavioral patterns of Generation Z’s adult consumers, I thought I knew what this group was about. After all, the oldest tier of Gen Z is just a few years younger than I am. How different could they be when it came to purchasing behavior?

Turns out, Gen Z is different in ways I didn’t expect. After examining anonymous data from more than 2.3 million consumer phone calls to businesses in 2016, our analysis uncovered some surprising truths about the country’s youngest adult consumers.

African-American baby boy talking on mobile phone and looking at camera while sitting on the couch at home

First, Gen Z-ers use a mobile phone as an actual phone. They click-to-call more than any other demographic. That includes Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and even me and my Millennial cohorts. Also, they are 60% more likely than the average consumer to hang up if businesses don’t answer quickly and 30% more likely to curse at customer service reps than any other group. The data illustrates, on a macro level, that our youngest adults communicate more casually, make faster purchasing decisions, and demand top-tier customer service.

The data also found that Gen Z wants a whole host of options to connect with a business – texts, social media channels, and email among those – but they are most likely to click to call a business because they desire a real-time, authentic connection. This should help dispel the widely-shared perception that live conversations for this consumer group have gone the way of the dodo.

Group of teenagers sitting outdoors using their mobile phones

Think about it: these days, mobile devices are as important to our lives as breathing. That’s especially true for the adult consumers of Gen Z, who grew up in a multi-screen environment. This kind of “screen addiction” often gets labeled in pejorative terms, but scientists say it’s simply the human brain adapting to a fast-changing media environment.

So advertisers, take heed: there is no faster researcher out there than the Gen Z-er. Because these consumers can toggle between different devices with breathtaking speed, they can be on the phone with your customer service rep AND broadcast on multiple social media channels how great or terrible their experience at the same time. According to our data, Gen Z consumers are extremely deal-savvy and they have no compunction about calling out a company if a deal offered over the phone is more expensive than what’s advertised online.

Our advice is to sync up all online-to-offline pricing, because these savvy consumers will call you out on it – and they won’t hold back on telling you where to go! 🙂

Click here to get a high-res version of this infographic

2 responses to “Why Generation Z Doesn’t Behave Like You Might Expect”

  1. […] with all of that in mind, add in some interesting data compiled by advertising analytics company […]

  2. […] value, if not demand, fast, responsive customer service more than other age groups, according to new researchfrom  advertising analytics company […]

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