UK businesses are struggling to market to Gen Z: report

Teen girl mobile smartphoneA large number of UK businesses find it difficult to market to ‘Generation Z’, generally finding it easier to market to people from the same generation as themselves, according to a study from affiliate network Awin.

A survey of 1,000 UK business owners and marketing teams from various sectors found that 47 per cent of businesses identify Gen Z as the hardest age group to target – an issue when 89 per cent of businesses switch up their strategy depending on the age group they are targeting. At the same time, further enforcing the disconnect, 61 per cent find it easier to market to people from the same generation as them.

The reasons for Gen Z being viewed as the most difficult to market to are their use of adblocking technology (26 per cent), their shorter attention spans (23 per cent), and their unpredictability (19 per cent).

The second most difficult group to market to was identified as ‘Baby Boomers’ (23 per cent), followed by ‘Gen X’ (16 per cent). 77 per cent of respondents said they do not market to the ‘Silent Generation’ at all.

Meanwhile, when asked which generation is easiest to target, ‘Millennials’ came out on top (36 per cent), followed by Gen X (30 per cent), and Baby Boomers (19 per cent). The reasons given for Millennials being easiest to market to included being easier to reach online (22 per cent), them being more engaged (18 per cent), and being more predicable (16 per cent).

The telecoms sector finds it hardest to market to Gen Z, with 61 per cent admitting to struggling. On the other hand, the beauty industry finds it easiest to market to Gen Z (53 per cent).

71 per cent of businesses intend to put more budget behind marketing to Gen Z over the next year, mainly because they are becoming the largest market (56 per cent). How businesses intend to market to the generation includes committing to a social cause (22 per cent), increasing the use of influencers (20 per cent), and by increasing transparency (15 per cent).

“Generation Z as a group not only represent a more unchartered territory for marketers, they also epitomise a group that’s more aware that they are being targeted to, and therefore less receptive of brands’ attempts to reach them,” said Ian Charlesworth, UK country manager at Awin.

“Brands are all too aware that Generation Z will soon make up the biggest target group, so it makes logical sense that marketers are turning their attention to and investing more money into this valuable group of decision makers. Inevitably all generations are going to consume media campaigns differently, and that is why it’s so important to consider all avenues when it comes to generational targeting.”