Just when restaurateurs were getting millennials’ buying behaviors down, the next wave of consumers has crashed onto the restaurant shores, wielding an estimated $505 billion in aggregate income, according to the data-crunchers at ResearchandMarkets. They’ve just released findings concerning the buying behaviors of thhe15- to 24-year-old age group, and it comes with a warning to restaurant leaders: These big spenders of the near future are displaying pretty complicated and contradictory characteristics that — taken collectively — “create an unparalleled challenge for marketers.”

Gen Z-ers and those right behind them in the 13- to 17-year-old age groups are about 52 million strong and they’re not as “one” with digital as many might anticipate, according to the company. Yes, they spend plenty of time online, particularly on social media channels, but they still have a great affinity for the real physical business world, sometimes referred to as brick-and-mortar. 

In fact, you might say that Generation Z “wants it all,” according to the company’s research, which found that these young people might prefer buying at brick-and-mortar business locations than online. They use banking apps but still frequent banks, and though they download entertainment, they also head to the theater often. 

Tomorrow on QSRweb, we’ll take a deeper dive into this generation’s digital habits and how they relate to fast food, but today we’ll explore some of the findings of their overall lifestyles from ResearchandMarkets most recent report. 

Marketing to a new “world view” generation

Gen Z has absolutely no qualms about gender fluidity and sexuality, according to the research that revealed that more companies are launching gender-neutral marketing campaigns and products. A marketing challenge seen in this generation is the variation in its demographic data, like age and race, as well as the array of beliefs, personalities and values, or psychographic characteristics.  

In its press information, the company said that there are big fluctuations across racial lines. 

“Non-Hispanic whites are far less likely than African American and Hispanic young adults to express positive attitudes about advertising,” the company said in its findings. “And African Americans are much more likely to depend on traditional media.”

‘And now for something completely different’

That oft-quoted Monty Python movie title could be the brand logo for this generation that has its own style when it comes to consumer behavior. Here are some of the most salient finding of the ResearchandMarkets results that apply to the restaurant sector: 

  • They like the real thing, as in brick-and-mortar locatons. 
  • Less likely to buy online than millennials. 
  • Aggregate Income of $463 Billion
  • Super-attached to mobile phones. 
  • Love their cars, and prefer used.
  • Multicultural Gen Z-ers are growing credit and debit card users. 
  • They prefer digital and mobile payment. 
  • They prefer Instagram and Snapchat over Facebook.
  • They prefer social media stars over conventional celebrities and take to influencer marketing. 
  • Less likely to take to traditional promotions, but still attracted to traditional advertising. 
  • College student Gen Z-ers prefer Twitter or Instagram as their preferred social media venues.
  • Direct marketing still gets results. 
  • Still Gets Results on College Campuses
  • Spanish advertising viewed as respectful by young Latinos. 
  • African American Gen Z-ers very receptive to ads. 

The big takeaway

ResearchandMarkets said overall, Gen Z is clearly plotting a different consumer course, which is good news for brick-and-mortar restaurants. The company said marketers should think about omnichannel in-store systems to engage these young people, along with heightened store experiences. 

Likewise, their open views of gender and sexuality open new possibilities to approach this generation as a brand, as they present a key market for restaurant brands, the company said. 

Photo: iStock