The Gen Z Playbook

The Gen Z Playbook by business intelligence service PSFK decodes Gen Z’s changing priorities and provides a strategic framework that brands and retailers can use to redesign their brand experiences for this new generation of consumers.

The 50+ page report presents 8 trends that represent key opportunities to activate Gen Z consumers, supported by 24 best-in-class case studies and quantitative and qualitative consumer insights collected from the Gen Z Survey, a survey of over 1,000 consumers conducted by PSFK and our quant research partner Suzy.

This survey shows a generation of true digital natives that perceives the world through a unique lens, moving seamlessly between the online and offline worlds and naturally embracing digital technology as a tool for self-expression, community building, entrepreneurship and social change.

The Gen Z Playbook by PSFK shows how forward-thinking brands are aligning with Gen Z’s values and building platforms that invite authentic engagement and foster long-term relationships.

Business intelligence platform PSFK found that there are key trends defining how Gen Z structure their identities, communities and personal goals. Those trends include:

Synced Living: Using immersive platforms to socialize and collaborate with friends, using shared real-time experiences to enhance, not replace, real life relationships

Democratized Commerce: Embracing peer-driven marketplaces that enable individuals to market and sell their favored products and services to like-minded audiences

In addition to the trends research, by working with polling partner Suzy, the research companies surveyed Gen Z and Millennial consumers and found the following consumer insights that tapped into the trends:

  Their mantra is ‘Be Yourself’: Open-mindedness is the top generational trait for Gen Z, with 36% choosing it as the adjective that best describes their generation. This is an 8% increase over Millennials.

  They live online and offline simultaneously: 34% of Gen Z say ‘my online and offline selves are very similar’ and 29% ‘see no difference between my online and offline selves.’

  They’re forging their own paths: 55% of Gen Z feel that their generation is more entrepreneurial than previous generations.

  They seek brands whose purpose aligns with theirs: When asked to choose the most important trait for a brand to have, 58% of Gen Z choose a brand’s purpose, values & mission, making it their #1 most important trait, whereas Millennials rank it as their third most important trait.

The 50+ page report includes:

  • 8 trends that represent key opportunities to activate Gen Z consumers, supported by 24 best-in-class case studies
  • 6 strategic recommendations that brands and retailers can implement to transform the brand experience for Gen Z
  • Quantitative and qualitative results from the Gen Z Survey, an original survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by PSFK and Suzy, the real-time consumer polling platform, that provide key insights into the Gen Z consumer mindset and a breakdown of the brands, apps and platforms that they favor
Additional content:

  • Summary presentation deck in PDF
  • Summary presentation deck in Keynote
  • Gen Z Survey Results PDF

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Insights From The Gen Z Playbook

Interview How Sift's Innovative 'News Therapy' Experience Is Keeping Readers Up To Date Mindfully

PSFK chats with a co-founder of Sift, a news app experience that aims to inform younger readers without adding to their stress, helping them contextualize, navigate and digest current events calmly and thoughtfully as well as curb disengagement

Interview Universal Standard Is Connecting With Shoppers Through Inclusivity And Acceptance

PSFK sits down with Universal Standard's co-founder, whose beloved brand is the most size-inclusive brand on the market, about building community and rethinking ecommerce

Analysis How Brands Like Dote Are Further Blurring Retail, Entertainment And Socialization

From live influencer-led shopping parties to marketplaces that connect peers in real time, today's democratized commerce platforms are enabling more meaningful, socially-driven transactions

Interview How Rec Room Is Providing Digital-First Audiences A Space To Build Relationships

The CEO of the VR platform that allows people from all over the world to connect with each other in user-designed rooms and games tells PSFK about creating meaningful social experiences thanks to cutting-edge creative tech

Analysis How Immersive Platforms Like Twitch Are Uniting Communities Online

From livestreamed karaoke to mobile VR gaming, immersive digital platforms are helping consumers enjoy meaningful social experiences online

Interview Expert Insight: How Birchbox's Inclusive Rebrand Helps It Connect With Purpose-Driven Consumers

The subscription box is making self-care more accepting with genderless categories that promote inclusivity and naturally attract consumers like Gen Zers who look for mission-driven brands

Interview Why A Human-Focused Fitness Platform Launched A Digital Coach

In a bid to better meet the needs of today's mobile and digital-first consumers, Aaptiv launched a virtual trainer service that helps members achieve their goals on their own terms

Analysis How Brands Like Gucci Are Personalizing Digital Communication With Customizable Avatars

In step with the way Gen Z consumers spend their time, leading brands are investing in elevated and personalized virtual communication methods like digital avatars, also opening up new opportunities for retailers to engage with digital-first audiences

Related CX Insights

Banks, Insurance & Financial Services Zero On Designing A Debit-Style Credit Card Around Younger Consumers' Needs

Zero combines a credit card and checking account in one place, providing consumers benefits like a line of credit and cash back while keeping them accountable and pioneering the next generation of mobile banking with a streamlined, design-led user experience

Features Courting Gen Z With Live-Streamed, Community-Based Events

Journey LIVE is a meditation platform that allows groups of people to meditate together with the help of a live guide, which is attracting Gen Z users who focus on self-care and digital community

Brand Activation & Immersion Why Muses And Media Are Key To Reaching Gen Z

From defining an authentic brand muse to enabling on-demand accessibility across physical and digital touchpoints, here are three steps to align with the lifestyles of today's younger consumers

Children Kashi Collaborates With Teens To Create Cereal Gen Z Actually Likes

Rather than hypothesize on what kids would like, Kashi assembles a team of Gen Zers to produce a new food line that is appealing to younger consumers

Gen Z Assumption Versus Reality: What People Get Wrong About Gen Z

Lazy, over-sensitive, tech-addicted? Gen Z claps back, setting the record straight for a better understanding of the next consumer class

Advertising How Platforms Like VFiles Help Digital Creators Build A Following

Here are the innovative apps and services helping online creators build their unique brand, engaging a fanbase along the way

Design Expert Insight: How Avatar-Based Social App Genies Helps Gucci Reach Gen Z

PSFK speaks to Genies' director of marketing to understand how a collaboration with Gucci helps generate the brand generate awareness and engagement with key digital-first and social-savvy consumers

Consumer Insights Understanding Your Gen Z Consumer: Insights Into The Next Generation's Values

In partnership with Suzy, PSFK research reveals that Gen Zers seek brands that match their purpose, highly rate open-mindedness and value self expression more than millennials