7 Generation Z Trends Impacting Consumer Brands In 2016
GENERATION Z TRENDS
BRANDS IN 2016
Through Youthvine, we access an influential community of over 1,000 young consumers (ages 9-18) nationwide in an open
dialogue, asking the right questions and engaging them with innovative co-creation projects. Over the years, our process
continues to reveal the unspoken truths and moments of inspiration that help brands cultivate relevance with young people.
We hope you enjoy these 7 insightful trends selected from our Q4 study.
Stay In-Tune & Ahead Of Future Opportunities
1 I Influencer Marketing:
Ain’t A Quick Fix
The bar is rising higher than ever to become a valuable online influencer
and, at the same time, more challenging for brands to partner with them.
This is partly because of reduced feed visibility on popular social platforms,
combined with record numbers of young people aspiring to be famous.
Gen Z filters out one-off promotional posts, and obvious sales offers,
making it essential for brands to work smarter with influencers. Influencers
also expect to be compensated for their content machine. Gone are the
days where a promise of “exposure” is enough to grab a YouTuber or IGer
(Instagrammer) for your brand.
Bottom Line: For brands to succeed, it is important to know where to look
for influencers, have meaningful strategies to form business relationships
with them, and create experiences that will inspire influencer audiences.
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016 1
YOUTUBER: TYLER OAKLEY
2 I Virtual Reality Becomes
Gen Z Normality
Oculus Rift (owned by Facebook) and other emerging players like
Samsung, Disney/Lucasfilm and Google Cardboard will continue to bring
this game changing technology to the mass market, creating an entire
new platform for immersive entertainment content.
Fusion, a news channel geared towards Millennial and Gen Z viewers
(owned by Disney), recently announced that it was going to create VR
news experiences. Marriott and other brands are actively pursuing VR
focused marketing opportunities to woo Gen Z and Millennials.
Bottom line: We’re banking on Gen Z to quickly adopt consumer VR as
a “normal” and seamless part of their already digitally and social media
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016 2
3 I Who’s Calvin? Gen Z Expects A
Better Blend of Underwear
Move over socks, underwear is taking center stage and will be one of
the hottest apparel products, especially with Gen Z boys.
For retailers, it’s just another item to stay ahead of the game on by
selecting brands like Ethika, Stance, and new smaller companies
entering the category.
Bottom Line: For brands targeting youth outside of the apparel industry,
this new underwear trend represents a unique opportunity for lucrative
collaborations, licensing, and cross-promotional marketing.
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016 3
STANCE SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR
4 I Goodbye USTREAM.
Second generation live streaming apps like Periscope, Meerkat or Twitch
are easily downloaded on their smartphones. Generation Z is rapidly
flocking to niche live streaming video social networks for real-time
interaction with people from around the world.
For example, on YouNow, young people are firing up their phones,
raking in the views and likes by broadcasting just about anything—from
music to dancing, comedy, video gaming and yes, even the
Bottom Line: It’s in-the-moment socializing and gaming that epitomizes
Generation Z, with the convergence of diverse interests, and desire to
avoid social networks with a high “parent factor.”
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016 4
YOUNOW LIVESTREAMING PLATFORM
5 I Talk Talk: The Rise Of
Anonymous Social Voice Apps
We think voice-based social talking apps like Orbi, Parlor, Tings
and YouVoice are poised to explode in popularity in 2016. Think of
these anonymous voice apps like a voice version of ChatRoulette.
Open the app, pick a topic and you are randomly connected into
one-to-one private conversation with someone from anywhere in
Bottom Line: We think there’s an opportunity here for marketers
to use social voice apps in a creative and fun ways to engage and
interact with Generation Z.
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016
TINGS SOCIAL VOICE APP
6 I In Sync: Constant Connectivity
Gen Z is the first generation raised with almost constant connectivity. So
it’s only logical to Gen Z consumers that everything from clothes, mobile
payments, watches or even a car—should interact with each other.
For example, artists and designers have now embraced the movement
toward wearables and are creating unique, youth-relevant collections that
keep Gen Z in style while making their lives that much easier.
Bottom Line: Be on the lookout for phone charging athleisure pants and
gear. Watch Google and Levi’s transformation of classic styles into tech
platforms that function like a smartwatch and clothes that can make
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016 6
7 I Design Thinking: Gen Z Expects
Brands poised to win with Gen Z are deepening their connection with
consumers through meaningful collaboration (co-creation). The voice of
the customer is more powerful than ever and for brands targeting Gen Z.
Bottom Line: Giving Gen Z customers the opportunity to collaborate
with the creative masterminds at your brand is exactly the level of
human engagement that inspires authenticity and creates remarkable
brands young people love.
7 GEN Z TRENDS IMPACTING CONSUMER BRANDS IN 2016
COCA-COLA CO-CREATION CAMPAIGN
As 2015 draws to a close, and your company begins to
focus on digital strategies and youth marketing
initiatives in the new year, watch these, and many
other new trends—emerge in 2016.
FOR YOUTH INSIGHTS AND MARKETING INITIATIVES
CLICK LINK BELOW:
Written by Yvonne Kwan, Derek Baird, and Gregg Witt
We deliver solutions designed to inform
strategy, inspire innovation and activate
youth marketing initiatives that resonate
with niche audience segments and mass
market consumers. Give us a shout.