Now that we all seem to have a fairly good handle on Millennials, meet the next influential generation coming up right behind them, Gen Z. They’re future-focused, realists, willing to work for success and are participating in change. Born between 1997 and now, they’re the first generation of digital natives who use multiple platforms and devices to get the information and entertainment they desire. And, they desire a lot of it. This emerging generation was the focus of “The Year of Gen Z: Insights From The Front Line With Today’s Youth Consumer,” presented by digital media company SWEETY HIGH, during MUSIC BIZ 2018 yesterday (5/17) at NASHVILLE’s OMNI HOTEL.
Understanding characteristics of this group, which will constitute 40% of U.S. consumers by 2020 and who already generate $600 billion in annual spending, is the specialty of SWEETY HIGH, a cultural destination for teen and tween girls. Music discovery for this group is driven by YOUTUBE (75%), streaming services (70%), and social media (61%), but terrestrial radio also has a viable seat at the table (57%). SPOTIFY dominates overall music listening at 61%, but terrestrial radio is second at 54%. Gen Z’s love variety in their music — they’re genre agnostic — and while Pop leads the list of favorites at 78%, Country music is a respectable 39% and growing rapidly. It was pointed out that five years ago, Country lagged far behind at just 7%. Because of their wide use of media, there is no one-size-fits all strategy for reaching them. They demand consistent value and ease of use, and it was recommended that marketing toward this generation be driven by content-centric relationships.
Following the presentation of data, WARNER MUSIC NASHVILLE’s TEGAN MARIE performed a well-received live set; MARIE is 14 years old and right in the heart of Gen Z, whose social media following reflects another strategy shared by SWEETY HIGH: build consistent cultural traction to engender authentic relationships with an audience.