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Gen Z – How are they feeling and how will their behaviour change as lockdown eases?

As part of our ongoing insight programme into Gen Z, our most recent Zedders Panel saw a group of 16 – 19-year-olds questioned on their thoughts and feelings following lockdown and their intended behaviours as restrictions ease.

Their hopes, dreams and concerns were all discussed in depth, with very definite views made, and here’s what we’ve discovered:

Looking forward…

Like the rest of us, they’ve simmered life down to the things that really bring them joy – all they want is to socialise again, seeing friends and family with no limits or restrictions on numbers.

‘I just want to have freedom to do what I want without restrictions and rules’.

Those who fall on the older end of the spectrum, or who indeed came of age during the pandemic, are absolutely chomping at the bit to get into bars, clubs and live music venues. Stats-wise, a whopping 75% expressed socialising with friends and family as something they were very much looking forward to…

‘Since turning 18, I definitely want to try out clubbing’.

‘Schools’ nearly ended… might be a bit of a party vibe summer’.

Another major area that has been sorely missed is exercising without restrictions. Three quarters of the Gen Z focus group mentioned a desire to get back to the gym, as well as competing in sports matches.

What’s changed?

It’s well established that Gen Z spends more time than any other group online and the pandemic has only fuelled that, particularly with school life and socialising so dramatically impacted. But how has this altered our Zedder’s world view?

Well for starters it’s made them significantly more politically inclined than previous generations, and with good reason. There’s a widespread general concern about environmental issues, with notable commentary surrounding the rising sea-levels, plastic pollution and global warming.

‘The older generation don’t realise so you find yourself having to teach your parents’.

‘It seems a bit of a chore but its better in the long run to recycle’.

‘I don’t do as much as I should – I got involved in protests but then it slowed down with Covid. I need to do more’.

They’re most concerned with reducing plastic use and cutting down or avoiding eating meat. The consensus seems to be that these things are more easily attainable/within their control, whereas when it comes to fast fashion, though most condemn it, they are fashion conscious but lack the finances to invest in long-term, sustainable garments.

‘I would choose a more environmentally-friendly brand if it was at a reasonable price range’.

That said, they are highly critical of fast fashion companies like Primark, Shein, and Boohoo and want them to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. Statistical breakdowns show that 85% are concerned about climate change, two thirds about pollution and half about recycling and loss of habitats.

Their influence is also driving the second-hand market with clothing brands such as Vinted and Depop increasingly popular. This mode of shopping extends to online market places such as Etsy, seen as an ideal middle ground because it is relatively inexpensive, environmentally conscious and also supports individual talent.

Ultimately, like the rest of us, it seems than Gen Z have boiled life down to the important things, seeing friends and family, having a good time, and protecting our planet for future generations.

Lucre News: Voice Technology Use Rises 67% Since Pandemic Across Gen Z

Gen Z has used voice technology 67% more since the pandemic started, of which 70% are 10–15-year-old boys. That’s according to recent research which evaluates the habits of Gen Z pre- and post-pandemic.[1] It found that between 40-50% of Gen Z use voice technology assistants, of which two-thirds use theirs daily.

Adding to their increased technology usage, the report found an astounding 287% growth in TikTok use across 16–18-year-olds since the beginning of the pandemic. The research further reveals that Gen Z spends roughly 9 hours on YouTube per week. More generally, the research saw a 54% uplift in time spent online across Gen Z’s female demographic, compared to 30% across their male counterparts.

Interestingly, the pandemic has caused a resurgence in Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, particularly across the 10-15 year-old age bracket. Pre-pandemic, their use of these channels had all but eclipsed, so it’s possible that the need to connect with family and ‘formal’ groups – school, hobbies – caused these channels to find a new niche with this younger demographic.

When asking Gen Z what they look forward to the most post-COVID 19, girls aged 16+ responded that they wish to see the world and share their journey on social channels; boys of the same age simply want to have a blast with their friends. All Gen Z in the research wanted to be eco-conscious but added that they would not sacrifice the prospect of travel to become so.

Further research found that as a highly eco-conscious demographic, all of Gen Z age 16+ want brands to improve their eco credentials and social impact; a quarter of boys aged 10-15 and girls age 16+ will actively choose brands based on their eco-credentials.[2] Nearly a quarter (22%) of 19–22-year-olds, and 28% of 10–15-year-olds want a brand to stand for something they believe. Admiring more ‘worthy’ personalities, those aged 16-22 were found to idolise ‘respectable’, socially conscious names such as David Attenborough, Michelle Obama, and Greta Thunberg.

The research has been commissioned by The Lucre Group as part of an ongoing study  to gain further insight into the mindset of Gen Z, particularly in the context of the COVID pandemic and their interaction with visual culture and society.

Tamarind Wilson Flint, Co-Founder of The Lucre Group said:

Understanding how different audiences consume media and engage is key in a normal world, never mind against a backdrop of a global pandemic. To our knowledge, this is the only study of its kind to monitor Gen Z pre, during and post COVID, the insights of which offer a unique behavioural blueprint for businesses and brands. From identifying where technology has accelerated in usage to the green generation, this research helps us to comprehend on a granular level what is fundamentally important to Gen Z – alongside their means of communicating and interacting.”

View the Gen Z post-pandemic infographic

How to reach a Gen Z audience

There’s been plenty of research on the Gen Z demographic – but Lucre’s leading the way when it comes to understanding how to reach this complex group of people with its many facets. How can marketers best communicate and connect with the first generation to grow up with technology that is so entwined within their lives?


What is Gen Z?

Gen Z is a generational cohort. It’s made up of those born between 1995 and 2010. 19% of the population falls under the Gen Z category, yet with reports suggesting 47% of brands find Gen Z the hardest age group to target it looks like many businesses are missing a great opportunity to reach an important and potentially rewarding demographic.

Here at Lucre, our Ideas and Insight team has been working hard to get to know Gen Z. We’ve researched extensively to find out more about the group’s interests, purchasing power and key differentiators.


Here’s what we know about Gen Z

10-25-year-olds are digital natives – they’ve grown up around technology. They’re independent and resourceful and, you guessed it, like to spend their time in front of a screen.

There’s more to Gen Z than their interest in all things digital, though. This age group are ethical and moral champions – socially aware, sensitive to the world’s issues and keen to influence change.


The impact of COVID-19 on Gen Z

“Unprecedented” summed up 2020. When we initially presented our Gen Z research last January, we had no idea COVID-19 was just around the corner.

Like all of us, Generation Z were heavily impacted by the pandemic. Suddenly, an already internet-obsessed generation were forced to spend even more time staring at screens. But what impact has that had on Gen Z as a group, and how can marketers learn from this?

We recently delivered our findings during our Gen Z Webinar, an insightful session that showcased our team’s expert knowledge.


The top ten takeaways from Lucre’s Gen Z webinar


  1. Think voice, think visual

Content is still king, but the written word will be less powerful when it comes to engaging a Gen Z audience. Our research suggests nearly half of all Gen Zers actively use voice devices such as Amazon Alexa to play music and search for content.

Whilst voice is one to watch, video and visual content are currently ruling the roost. Two thirds of the Gen Z audience are consuming visual content a lot more since March 2020, with YouTube the most popular social channel. The younger generation enjoy engaging content they can share, but also enjoy being content creators themselves and expressing their creativity online.


  1. More is more

Unsurprisingly, online activity has increased substantially during 2020, when the nation was plunged into lockdown. Girls spent 54% and boys spent 30% more time on existing social channels such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. These “traditional” networks have been more important than ever as teens look to connect virtually with their family and friends.

However, there are still plenty of hours in the day left for emerging digital channels.  TikTok, the new kid on the block, has attracted widespread attention during 2020. Time spent on TikTok has grown nearly 300% in 16-18-year-old girls, with usage increasing across the board. Gen Z also spends an average of 9 hours every week on YouTube, with Instagram and Snapchat not too far behind. It’s clear that visually led social channels are rising in popularity amongst the younger generation.


  1. Authenticity is key

Gen Zers respect and admire figures such as David Attenborough, Michelle Obama and Greta Thunberg. Though “influencers” are often synonymous with the rise of online engagement, it’s interesting to note not many of our respondents suggested influencers as people they respect.

This generation wants to buy from brands with aligned visions and values. In fact, up to 28% of Gen Z boys want to purchase from a brand they believe in. Being genuine, authentic and ethical should be a top priority. Brands with a strong CSR strategy or charitable giving will be noticed but, most importantly, brands should work to develop an authentic tone of voice that resonates with this audience.


  1. Gen Z is a powerful group

With a buying power of $600billion (including pester power!), the Gen Z audience mustn’t be ignored. They’re set to be the most powerful and opinionated age group yet, so brands must take note and get this generation on side.

E-commerce is booming, with Amazon dominating the market amongst this demographic. 90% of boys (and two thirds of girls) aged 10-15 are shopping online, and 60% of girls aged between 16-22 report shopping online a lot more since the COVID-19 March lockdown.


  1. Wellbeing works wonders

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z are more acutely aware of looking after their own wellbeing than ever before. Boredom, anxiety and sadness pervades across this demographic – and brands should be sensitive to this.

Our research suggests there’s a sharp decline in happiness as Gen Z grow older as anxiousness and tiredness takes over. COVID-19 has also impacted the generation’s wellbeing, with 50% of older girls reporting the pandemic has been detrimental to their mental health. Thanks to the pandemic, 32% are worried about the future.

Brands are starting to be aware of this wellbeing focus, and the importance of positivity and affirmation when connecting to this audience.


  1. Hopes and fears are changing

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on Gen Z. 45% of girls aged 16-18 feel that COVID-19 is ruining their education. 45% of 10-15-year-old boys and 41% of 16-18-year-old girls are studying a lot more since lockdown. This level of pressure is likely to have a long-term impact on the generation.

Generally speaking, the Gen Z audience are particularly concerned about the environment, future security and health. A third of boys like to keep active and eat healthily, while an overwhelming number of girls (particularly 16-18-year-olds) are worried about their weight and what they eat.

Understanding these fears and concerns should help businesses sensitively position brand messaging and ensure they strike the right tone amongst this demographic.


  1. Gen Z covers a lot of ground

All ten-year-olds will have different worries and different aspirations when they become teenagers, or enter the world of work in their mid-twenties. Gen Z is a large, often amorphous term and marketers simply can’t target “Gen Z” without segmenting this down a little further.

For example, we know younger girls (aged 10 – 15) are gaming at similar levels to their male counterparts. Yet as we’ve covered in the points above, teenage girls are significantly more anxious than younger boys, who are obviously less concerned about factors such as job security.

Understanding how activities and interests change as Gen Zers grow up will help marketers to target sub audiences effectively.


  1. There are new platforms emerging

Twitch has predominantly been a gamer’s platform but, since the pandemic, it has seen a rise in users and diversification of the platform in general. Not every Twitch user is solely interested in gaming – its audience enjoys music, films and much more. This gives brands an ideal opportunity to reach a new and engaged audience via a different platform. 72.2% of all hours watched live on the web happened via Twitch, suggesting a huge opportunity for brands to get creative.


  1. Gen Z are going old school, too

There’s been a 38% increase in reading since the 2020 lockdown and a 41% uplift in ‘positive’ activities such as spending time with family, researching and learning online. Whilst Gen Z are still predominantly taking part in ‘passive’ activities such as watching TV and browsing, marketers should note the shift towards active participation. There’s a trend within this demographic to learn and study – watching informative content plays a big part in this.


  1. Marketers must adapt their strategies

One third of Gen Zers are influenced by peer approval. The quality and relevance of products and services is the most important driver, whilst celebrity or influencer endorsement is considered the least important. Again, we’re finding Gen Zers are all about authenticity and discovering products themselves or via trusted peers.


Marketing to a Gen Z audience

If you’re looking to reach the Gen Z audience, why not consult the experts? The Lucre team has spent a huge amount of time and resource analysing and researching this fascinating, engaging and complex bunch of young people.  Use our specialist knowledge and help your campaigns soar. If you’d like to find out more about our work, get in touch with the team.

You can even watch the full webinar recording here.

Generation A to Z: Understanding a new consumer era

Generation Z is anticipated to be one of the most purposeful and individually influential generations of this century; highly connected and with a set of emerging values very different from any we have seen in recent times.

The Lucre Group will be unveiling new research into the behaviours and preferences that drive this exciting group of young people. Focusing specifically on 10-18 year olds, we will be assessing their webs of influence and any shifts in comparison to their immediate predecessors, the much discussed, Millennials.

A must-be-there event, organised by the Lucre Group in conjunction with ResearchBods, we will be revealing fresh insights achieved through polling and passive monitoring, to help understand Gen-Z’s values and aspirations.

Appealing to this exciting new audience and corralling their interests and aspirations will be a challenge for any brand. Our findings and experts will shed light on how to effectively engage with this group of confident and opinionated young people.

Join the Lucre Group and signature speakers from ResearchBods, TenEighty Magazine and MediaTrust to debate the findings.

Thursday 30th January
2pm – Arrival
2:30pm – 4:30pm – Discussion
4:30pm onwards – Networking and drinks

Agas Harding Room
The Goldsmiths’ Centre
(3 minute walk from Farringdon Station)

Numbers are limited, so please RSVP to or phone Nick Smith-Shefford on 0113 243 1117.