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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Case Study This On-Demand Tailor Service Is Helping Fashion Brands Enable High-Touch Retail

Hemster is the first service of its kind, offering bespoke tailoring through recognizable brands both in stores and at home

Banks, Insurance & Financial Services Here's How Samsung's New Feature Helps Consumers Stick To A Budget

Managing finances is not an easy feat, and can be even more difficult to control with the increase of credit cards and contactless payments, Samsung is implementing an alternative to simplify the process to stay on budget.

Delivery & Logistics Sustainable P2P Startup Shoe Bank Lets Consumers Trade Kicks For Free

The Los Angeles-based re-commerce platform Shoe Bank is tackling the problem of unworn shoes through sustainable swapping

Baby Boomers These Services Build Connections Between Seniors And Young People

From housing to networking to cooking, brand-new experiences are now catering to Baby Boomers who want to connect with other generations

Brand Activation & Immersion These Diverse Resources Prove That Camping Is Meant For Everyone

No two campers are exactly alike, and these brands work to provide spaces for people of marginalized identities in the outdoors community

Cafe & Restaurant IHOP Is Inviting L.A. Loyalty Members To Dine In Its Exclusive Tiny-House Restaurant

The Tiny IHOP Dinner Series lets select MYHOP members enjoy pancakes inside the brand's smallest restaurant, which includes only one booth

Automotive CarMax Helps Customers Skip The Dealership With An Entirely At-Home Purchase Experience

Customers can now have their car delivered to home or work thanks to CarMax, which is unrolling a completely remote retail experience that prioritizes personalization

Entertainment How New Digital Tools Are Enhancing The Modern Camping Experience

Camping and wilderness apps are employing tech like AI and AR to help adventurers to get the most out of their time in the great outdoors, acting as expert guides and resources