We’re in 2021. The millennials have taken center stage and the baby boomers have retired with whatever they have in their 401ks.
The next population set to take over from the millennials is GenZ.
In an age where everything and anything technology has been at the core of growth for this unique set of people, there have been surprisingly very few insights into how they think, their desires, and so forth.
So, when the opportunity came to talk to Eric Dahan, a co-founder and CEO of Open Influence, and others it was a joy to get his responses on the population group that will define the next 50 years.
Here is what he had to say.
Eric Dahan, Co-Founder, and CEO of Open Influence
Now that the world is poised to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic, what are the new trends that you think we will see emerge from the ashes?
I think digital adoption has definitely increased drastically, and we will see that push continue to blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds. Experiential will be coming in strong and those who are able to create and offer hybrid experiences will win the attention of consumers.
Gen Z is coming of age. What are the products and services that this age group tends to be comfortable with?
Tech innovation and socio-cultural movements have shaped Gen Z in major ways. These hyper-aware individuals have high brand expectations. This age group tends to be comfortable with brands that align with their values and that respond to their needs.
What is the impact of technology platforms on the economic choices of this age group?
It has had a tremendous impact. This digital savvy generation is used to collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information. This naturally converts them into the most conscious consumers of our times.
How have influencers been instrumental in aiding Gen Z in critical decisions?
Studies have shown half of US Gen Zers trust influencers’ recommendations when deciding to make a purchase. Influencers are much more than the “modern celebrities,” they are perceived as friends and in some cases, mentors they trust.
What do the population trends show as regards the spending patterns and
habits for Gen Z?
Gen Z’ers are more likely to pay a premium for items that are unique and tailored to their interests. They are individualistic, don’t relate to specific labels and are looking for items that sets them apart.
What are your thoughts on the rise of new technologies such as cryptocurrencies and their allied technologies?
I believe that blockchain technology as a whole will have many applications that apply to our ever increasing decentralized, social environment. Though I see the path to cryptocurrencies emerging as a mainstream currency (at least in the developed world) as a bit more challenging, I do believe that cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, can be a store of value. The recent NFT craze presents an interesting opportunity to manage limited digital assets and I can see it being applied to many fields. Personally though, I find the application of NFT technology for 3D printable files probably the most interesting.
How do you think the rise of these technologies aid the COVID-19 economic recovery?
Innovation drives value and moves markets. The pandemic has forced an accelerated adoption to digital, which in turn has really helped digital-focused innovations emerge and take off.
What do you think are the best strategies for engagement with the Gen Z segment of the population?
Don’t create ads, but rather focus on creating content your audience will find valuable. Create content that inspires, entertains and educates this generation. You can further that by partnering with the creators they love and trust on all the platforms they spend time on every day.
How do you think Generation Z will define economic activity in the early 21st century?
GenZ’s social views deeply affect their consumer behavior, and will in-turn really change the way businesses operate and present themselves to consumers.
Are firms ready for the personality types that are emerging from this population segment? What can they do to prepare for their coming of age?
Some brands are while many are still playing with the millennial playbook. The best way to prepare is to really spend the time understanding the values of GenZ and what makes them, as a generation, tick.
Do you have any data on gender and investing among Gen Z?
55% of boys are extremely or very interested in investing versus 47% of girls.
33% of boys say they are confident in their personal finance knowledge compared to 21% of girls.
46% of girls haven’t invested because they don’t feel confident, while only 37% of boys said confidence held them back.
Girls are more likely to learn about donating and giving (42% to 29%), while boys are more likely to learn about investing in stocks (41% to 30%).SOURCE Greenlight Financial Technology, Inc
What do you think does the future hold for gender and investing in America?
Products and marketing efforts will continue to move away from associating themselves to specific gender identity. Traditional gender roles will therefore become far less relevant for brands, as GenZ’s impact on consumer behavior grows.
How are influencers becoming a concentric part of the market outreach model for finance and fintech companies?
Influencers are key for driving discovery and establishing social validation. In the finance and fintech industry trust is especially important, since people are trusting those companies with their hard-earned money and sensitive personal financial information.
What role do you think influencers have to play in social investing?
Influencers are trusted experts and their recommendations and insights are really valued by their audiences.
Speaking about social investing, do you think we are going to see the rise of mass movements like wall street bets and co? Please can you tell us the reasons for your answer?
I think the democratization of information and the emergence of specific communities will naturally lead to the continual democratization of investing. When you combine this with GenZs affinity for investing, you get a rise in the voice and market power of retail investors.
What lessons do you think humanity can draw from the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are a lot of lessons to learn from the pandemic. However, the first lesson that comes to mind is that the pandemic wasn’t unpredictable. In fact, many experts said that the likelihood of another pandemic was high. This was attributed to the increase in population density, travel, industrialized farming, and climate change. I think the big lesson is to not lose sight of the macro trends and the impacts that they might have on our lives, behaviors, and overall outlook.