How Gen Z is Redefining the Boundaries of Commerce

The youngest and most tech-savvy generation of adults are also the most selective in the products they use. Any business that aims to win Gen Z's attention must learn about the qualities they look for in a a company.

Gen Z (age 4-24) represent a fundamental break with every generation in human history – they’ve never lived in a non-digital world. Their attitudes are different to older generations, giving us a sneak peek into the future of human behaviours. Motie Bring, General Manager for Global eCommerce at Worldpay Merchant Solutions,

Gen Z’s stature, spending power and influence will grow as they enter the workforce and their predecessors head into retirement. As the generation whose behaviours will reshape commerce over decades to come, their importance to global retailers cannot be ignored.

Organisations need to implement both immediate and long-term strategies that ensure they’re being heard, with attention to three key areas.

Be Personal and Authentic

Rapid urbanisation, population growth, and the rise of mobile and online commerce has fundamentally changed society’s notion of individuality. Shoppers have swapped in-store experiences for the speed and convenience of shopping online. But, more recently, we are seeing Gen Z consumers placing a renewed focus on the individual and rekindling the one-to-one roots of commerce. For this demographic, one size doesn’t fit all: Gen Z are looking for personal experiences that fit their values and lifestyle and keep them excited.

Fused with the data that makes personalisation possible, technology is powering the possibility of one-to-one customer experiences in the digital age. Mass consumer culture doesn’t sit well with a generation that is immersed in individual expression. Retailers are moving away from talking to segments to focusing on people.

According to findings from the newly released Worldpay from FIS 2020 Global Payments Report, 60 percent of Gen Z believe that it is important for brands to value their opinion. 35 percent feel their favourite brand understands them as an individual.

Gen Z have a healthy sense of skepticism and so it is critical for brands to be authentic. Learning how to navigate the world in the era of “fake news” and having their digital lives saturated with messages of questionable quality and authenticity makes Gen Z discerning critics. They recoil from brands that fail to adhere to their values.

According to findings from the newly released Worldpay from FIS 2020 Global Payments Report, 60 percent of Gen Z believe that it is important for brands to value their opinion.

Provide a Mobile Friendly Experience

Brands seeking to earn the favour of Gen Z will need to cater to their payment preferences. Like the generation itself, Gen Z’s payment preferences are more digital, more social and more mobile-focused than any other generation.

Gen Z uses digital services and mobile wallets more frequently than their predecessors. Over half use digital wallets at least once a month, three quarters use a digital payment app from financial service providers and others, while 79 percent use peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps at least once a month. Digital access in the United Kingdom is very high: internet penetration in the country is one of the highest in the world at 95 percent of the population, according to the Worldpay from FIS 2020 Global Payments Report.

Accepting a range of smartphone-based digital wallets is vital to serve a generation that has largely bypassed using plastic cards as a payment method. Tailoring the right mix of digital wallet acceptance is key. Although globally recognised brands have proportionally large share, digital wallets are resisting homogenization with local and regional alternatives thriving around the world.

Innovate for a Hyper-Connected Generation

Gen Z isn’t instinctively drawn to the same banking, payment and investment tools as their parents’ generation. They want financial products and services that deliver practicality and convenience. Gen Z consumers are also savvier on what companies can deliver, and increasingly expect the same level of experience regardless of whether they are shopping on Amazon, ordering a pizza, or liaising with their financial service provider.

From peer-to-peer services that are increasingly being accepted for business-to-consumer transactions, to direct debits; from checking to satisfy recurring payment arrangements, to purely digital banking services: Gen Z is ready and eager to engage with cutting edge financial services and payment innovations.

Alternative financing options that emphasise shorter flexibility—such as “buy now pay later” services find themselves fitting with generational need. According to the Worldpay from FIS 2020 Global Payments Report, these trends are on the rise in the United Kingdom: these payments are expected to grow 39 percent annually and are on course to double their global market share by 2023.

Establishing meaningful connections with Gen Z is a long-term approach, but one that requires focused attention. Merchants seeking success must explore how they can formulate and implement strategies with appropriate care, yet with the urgency that Gen Z increasingly expects.

About the Data

Figures quoted are taken from data published in Worldpay from FIS 2020 Global Payments Report unless otherwise stated or referenced. For research methodology, please refer to page 128 of the report.

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