The Mintel Marketing to Gen Z report provides comprehensive and current information as well as analysis of Gen Z consumer habits and behaviors. The Gen Z consumer report includes information about Gen Z spending habits, Gen Z trends and opportunities for brands when they are Marketing to Gen Z consumers in the US.

Gen Z Consumer Marketing: Current Market Landscape

As a young population faced with certain struggles for the first time in their lives, Gen Z are in a position that requires extra guidance and support. On top of the challenges of transitioning into adulthood, Gen Z must also navigate the added uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and extremely high levels of inflation.

Gen Z Consumer Marketing: Future Consumer Trends

For brands, this means that plenty of opportunity exists to help this generation take control over their lives as they venture toward independence. To resonate with this generation, brands can focus on helping them build their personal and financial confidence. This is especially important when targeting Gen Z women, as gendered differences still persist in terms of spending responsibilities to how they feel they are represented in advertising.

Read on to discover more about the US Marketing to Gen Z consumer market, read our US Digital Advertising Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Marketing and Promotion research reports.

Quickly Understand

  • Gen Z’s top spending priorities.
  • Gen Z’s personal priorities for the next five years.
  • Shifts in Gen Z’s general priorities since the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Gen Z’s perceived sense of control over their personal futures.
  • Gen Z shopping preferences.
  • Gen Z’s perception of relatability and representation in marketing.

Covered in this marketing to gen z report

Mintel defines Generation Z as the generation born between 1997 and 2010. In 2022, members of Gen Z are between the ages of 12 and 25. For the purposes of this report, Mintel has further defined Gen Z consumer segments as the following:

  • Gen Z teens: those aged 12-17
  • Gen Z adults: those aged 18-25

Note: Mintel parameters for defining Generation Z shifted in 2021. Prior to 2021, Mintel defined Generation Z as the generation born between 1995 and 2007.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Klaudia Kondakciu, a leading analyst in the Consumers and Cultures sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis of gen z market research to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Whether they are teenagers or young adults, Gen Z are in a transitory phase in their lives, as even the adult members of this generation are not yet fully financially independent of their parents. While also having to deal with the struggles traditionally associated with coming of age, Gen Z are faced with the additional challenges of navigating this period of increased uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and unprecedented inflation. Therefore, the key to connecting with this generation is to help them feel more confident about themselves and their abilities to tackle the road ahead. This not only means accurately and authentically representing them in advertising but also acting as a resource that can provide guidance in areas covering mental and physical wellbeing and finances. Doing so will provide Gen Z with the sense of control that they seek.

Klaudia Kondakciu, Consumers and Cultures AnalystKlaudia Kondakciu
Consumers and Cultures Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definitions
          • Market context:
            • Economic and other assumptions
            • Executive Summary

                • Top takeaways
                  • Market overview
                    • Opportunities
                      • Financial brands can help Gen Z take care of their mental health by addressing their financial health
                        • Figure 1: Priority changes since the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                      • Allow physical stores to shine with a little bit of digital sparkle
                        • Figure 2: Online vs in-store shopping preferences, Gen Z vs Millennials vs overall, 2022
                      • Celebrate “flaws” to increase relatability
                        • Figure 3: Traits that would make consumers feel better represented in advertising, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                      • Challenges
                        • Gen Z are not yet responsible for all of their financial decisions
                          • Figure 4: Expense and spending responsibilities, Gen Z, 2022
                        • Gen Zs show less optimism toward the future
                          • Figure 5: Attitudes on future outlook, Gen Z vs Overall, 2022
                        • Key consumer insights
                          • Gen Z adults are focused on future financial goals
                            • For Gen Z, learning new skills is more important than ever
                              • Community involvement can count as self-care
                                • Gen Z adults prefer materials over experiences
                                • Market Factors and Current Opportunities

                                  • Gen Z is more diverse and should be represented as such
                                    • Figure 6: Distribution of generations by race, 2021
                                    • Figure 7: Distribution of generations by Hispanic origin, 2021
                                    • Figure 8: LGBTQ+ self-identification by generation, 2022
                                    • Figure 9: New way we’re fighting discrimination on Airbnb, 2020
                                  • Mental health cannot be ignored
                                    • Pandemic uncertainty accelerated the growing mental health crisis – especially among Gen Z teens
                                      • Social media also plays a major role in the mental health of developing minds
                                          • Figure 10: Toxic Influence: A Dove Film | Dove Self-Esteem Project, 2022
                                          • Figure 11: Dove Instagram post, 2022
                                        • Economic factors are only adding to Gen Z’s uncertainty
                                          • Figure 12: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-22
                                          • Figure 13: Perceived financial health by generation, 2022
                                          • Figure 14: Employment status, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                        • Beyond offering low prices, brands must teach Gen Z how to save
                                          • Partnering with financial brands can show Gen Z how to build wealth
                                            • Buy-now-pay-later options can offer more control, but aren’t without risk
                                              • Figure 15: Sezzle Instagram post, 2021
                                              • Figure 16: Sezzle Instagram post, 2022
                                          • Marketing to Gen Z: Fast Facts

                                            • Spending Priorities

                                              • Gen Z is still on the journey to financial Independence
                                                • Figure 17: Expense and spending responsibilities, Gen Z, 2022
                                              • Expense responsibilities vary by gender
                                                • Figure 18: Expense and spending responsibilities, Gen Z men vs Gen Z women, 2022
                                              • Gen Z men are embarking on independence earlier, financial guidance is needed
                                                • Figure 19: Realworld Instagram post, 2022
                                              • Gendered differences extend past necessary expenses
                                                • Figure 20: Spending spree categories, Gen Z men vs Gen Z women vs overall, 2022
                                                • Figure 21: Downy Philippines Facebook post, 2021
                                              • Entertainment matters most to Gen Z men
                                                • Figure 22: Spending spree, entertainment/gaming, Gen Z men vs Gen Z women vs overall, 2022
                                                • Figure 23: Mindcraft and Lacoste Instagram post, 2022
                                                • Figure 24: Lacoste Instagram post, 2022
                                              • Spotlight on Gen Z teens – Teen spending priorities
                                                  • Figure 25: Teen spending attitudes – “better to spend on experiences rather than things” and prioritizing lowest price when shopping, 2022
                                              • Personal Priorities

                                                • Unsurprisingly, future goals are focused on gaining independence
                                                  • Figure 26: Aspirations for the next five years, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                                  • Figure 27: Realworld Instagram post, 2022
                                                • Prepare Gen Z for home ownership
                                                  • Figure 28: Aspirations for the next years – Purchase a living space, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                                • Partner with home brands to build the relationship beyond the purchasing phase
                                                  • Figure 29: Etsy | Why Buy Boring, 2021
                                              • Priority Changes Since the COVID-19 Pandemic

                                                • Financial and mental health have come into greater focus
                                                  • Figure 30: Priority changes since the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                                • Financial institutions can help Gen Z tackle a common source of stress
                                                    • Figure 31: SoFi Instagram post, 2020
                                                  • Gen Z is eager to learn; brands should be eager to teach them
                                                    • Figure 32: Prioritizing “learning new skills” more since the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                                    • Figure 33: Kostministeriet Facebook post, 2020
                                                  • Use the latest technology to help Gen Z men become more involved in activism
                                                    • Figure 34: Prioritizing “staying informed about current issues” and “keeping up with new technology more” since the COVID-19 pandemic, 2022
                                                    • Figure 35: The People of Crypto Lab Instagram post, 2022
                                                • Prioritizing Self-care

                                                  • Help Gen Z celebrate all of life’s little moments
                                                    • Figure 36: Changes in self-care priorities since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                                  • Food and drink brands are especially well positioned to offer self-care moments
                                                    • Figure 37: Vosgeshautchocolat Instagram post, 2022/21
                                                  • Promote social activism as a form of self-care
                                                    • Figure 38: Changes in self-care priorities since before the COVID-19 pandemic – Getting more involved with my community, Gen Z vs overall, 2022
                                                    • Figure 39: Longwalks Instagram post, 2022
                                                • Sense of Control and Outlook on Personal Future

                                                  • Set Gen Z up for future success to help counteract uncertainty
                                                    • Figure 40: Attitudes on future outlook, Gen Z vs Overall, 2022
                                                    • Figure 41: Mindright Instagram post, 2022
                                                  • Spotlight on Gen Z teens – Teens show greater optimism toward the future
                                                      • Figure 42: Select teen attitudes – Optimism about the future and missing out on experiences due to the pandemic, 2022
                                                      • Figure 43: Chatime Australia Instagram post, 2022
                                                    • Aging is a greater concern for Gen Z women
                                                      • Figure 44: ‘I am okay with the idea of aging’ (any agree), Gen Z women and Gen Z men vs overall, 2022
                                                    • Marketers are responsible for showcasing more realistic and attainable beauty
                                                      • Figure 45: Dove Instagram post, 2022
                                                  • Marketing to Gen Z – Shopping Preferences

                                                    • Gen Z can help keep the heat on in-person shopping
                                                      • Figure 46: Online vs in-store shopping preferences, Gen Z vs Millennials vs overall, 2022
                                                    • Offer more sustainable options to satisfy Gen Z’s desire for low-cost tangible goods
                                                      • Figure 47: Select shopping preferences, 2022
                                                      • Figure 48: Buy Better. Wear Longer | Levi’s®, 2021
                                                      • Figure 49: Madewell Instagram post, 2022
                                                      • Figure 50: Nuuly Instagram post, 2022
                                                      • Figure 51: Crocs Instagram post, 2021
                                                    • Brands need to help grow the financial confidence of Gen Z women
                                                      • Figure 52: Preferences in price and quality, Gen Z women vs Gen Z men, 2022
                                                    • Financial brands are in the best position to offer guidance
                                                      • Buy-now-pay-later options can expand the purchasing power of Gen Z women
                                                        • Figure 53: Klarna Instagram posts, 2020/21
                                                    • Marketing Relatability and Representation

                                                      • There’s still work to be done in terms of relatable advertising
                                                        • Figure 54: Traits that would make consumers feel better represented in advertising, 2022
                                                      • “Flaws” of all sorts should be celebrated
                                                        • Figure 55: Lila Moss Instagram post, 2022
                                                      • Greater representation in ads is imperative to resonate with Gen Z women
                                                        • Figure 56: Traits that would make consumers feel better represented in advertising, by gender, 2022
                                                        • Figure 57: All Our Moves, 2021
                                                    • Future Opportunities and Strategies

                                                        • Meeting the needs of Gen Z through the lens of the Identity Trend Driver
                                                          • Challenging gender norms can help validate personal identity
                                                              • Figure 58: Bonds Instagram post, 2022
                                                            • Meeting the needs of Gen Z through the lens of the Wellbeing Trend Driver
                                                              • Address consumer mood as the focus on mental health increases
                                                                  • Figure 59: Dose Instagram posts, 2021
                                                                • Meeting the needs of Gen Z through the lens of the Technology Trend Driver
                                                                  • Embrace technology to help build Gen Z’s confidence
                                                                      • Figure 60: Long Game Instagram post, 2021
                                                                      • Figure 61: Truist Instagram post, 2021
                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                          • Direct marketing creative
                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms

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