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

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Shopper Education & Assistance Startup Huckleberry streamlines the insurance management process with an AI-enabled platform

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Brand Activation & Immersion How Brands Are Tapping The Power Of Community Through A New Kind Of Exclusivity

PSFK has spotted a trend bubbling up at the confluence of exclusivity and community, where brands retailers are tapping into the ephemeral and the human with unique networks as a remaining way to differentiate and connect more deeply

Fashion & Apparel Goodwill and Entrupy weed out counterfeit handbags with AI-enabled authentication

Nonprofit Goodwill uses AI from an authentication service called Entrupy to weed out counterfeit high-end handbags for sale on its ecommerce platform, shopgoodwill.com. Goodwill employees use a modified iPod Touch equipped with a special lens in order to take closeup shots of an item, using an algorithm to analyze attributes like the stitching, lining and logo in order to determine its authenticity.

Shopper Marketing & Promotion Streamlist connects buyers and sellers in real-time via live-streamed chat

Streamlist is a live-streamed fashion marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to connect in real time. Using the Streamlist app, sellers can launch a livestream video to showcase an item and chat with potential buyers, answering any questions they may have about the item in real time before they make a purchase. Each live-streamed video contains a list of all of the items for sale, so buyers can click on a desired product to purchase instantly.

Merchandising & Curation Dote Shopping Party lets fans shop live with their favorite influencers

Shopping app Dote unveiled a feature that allows influencers to host live-streamed interactive video shopping experiences. During a Shopping Party session, Dote influencers can share live video of themselves while browsing different products on the Dote app and interacting with fans in real time, conducting giveaways and polls. Influencers can shop from all 150 brands on the Dote platform or throw parties exclusively for a single brand through Dote’s ‘Sponsored Party’ program.

Retail Countr lets users showcase and monetize their styles through social feeds

Social commerce platform Countr harnesses the power of authentic unsponsored recommendations through shoppable posts, enabling customers to showcase and monetize their styles, and purchase products directly from their feed.