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Introducing Gen Z
Who are Generation Z?
Gen Z, born between 1995-2010, are true digital natives who have grown up with the Internet around them all their lives. They make up about 20% of the workforce, despite the oldest ‘millennial’ being about 25 years old. This group doesn’t remember a life before catastrophic climate change, and they’ve lived through several large-scale world changes like the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘Trump era’, increasing threats of world terrorism and several financial crises. This has made them adaptable, resilient and pragmatic about money.
As digital natives, Gen Z welcomes digital banking, indeed most of us would shudder at the thought of going into a physical bank branch, or phoning a human being for bank admin. We’re familiar with online payments, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and digital wallets and welcome fintech solutions.
Why should fintechs and banks pay attention to Gen Z?
Gen Z are an increasingly important demographic for both fin-techs and traditional financial institutions. Within 12 months, they’re going to eclipse millennials as the largest consumer segment, becoming 40% of the global population with a combined spending power of $143 billion, and they’re far more savings-savvy than previous generations (30% of Gen have £1,000 in savings and 40% report saving as ‘fundamental’ for their future).
Their incomes are also different to previous generations, especially post-pandemic. Gen Z is more likely to have diverse, multiple income streams instead of relying on a single salary. This generation values financial security over personal fulfilment, making them likely to be highly proactive, engaged customers for digital personal finance services.
So, financial services have several (urgent) reasons to start focusing on Gen Z. Let’s talk through the top 5 reasons in this article.
1. They’re Tech Natives Already Banking Digitally
There are two main reasons people don’t adopt new financial products: they don’t need them because they aren’t solving a problem for them, or because these products are difficult to adopt.
Financial institutions face significantly lower barriers to entry with Gen Z: this generation is worried about money and how to manage it (81% said money was a major stress), and they welcome digital adoption for financial apps at far higher rates than other generations (44% said they’d enter into financial relations with tech companies).
Segmenting further, 28% of Gen Z are ‘pioneers’ who feel optimistic about tech companies delivering financial services, and view a future without banks and credit unions. 37% of Gen Z have a preference for traditional providers (high street banks like Natwest and HSBC) but strongly indicate a preference for digital service delivery), viewing a blended future with dependence on ‘new’ and long-standing financial institutions. The message is clear: whether you’re a traditional financial institution like a bank or insurer, or a new fin-tech app – Gen Z is primed and ready to become your largest, most deeply engaged customer segment.
This is a significant opportunity for challenger banks like Monzo and Revolut, and for digital payments platforms like Square, Cashapp, PayPal and Stripe. Gen Z are also heavily into discount cards (they’ll even install browser extensions like Honey to coupon and save money). This is great intel for traditional providers, who can look at offering discounts or savings-based incentives as add-ons for their services.
So, Reason 1 to reach out? Gen Z is primed and eager to adopt fin-tech or digital financial services.
2. They Don’t Want To Repeat Previous Generations’ Mistakes
Gen Z’s boomer jokes and memes come from a surprisingly reasonable place: their earliest memories are of living through a financial crisis caused by older generations.
While millennials are relatively optimistic about their future and finances, and will pay for products with positive experiences, Gen Z is far more pragmatic, has 169% less debt than Millennials and looks for savings and practical products.
What does this mean for fin-techs and banks? Investment apps, budgeting tools and personal finance products are likely to resonate with this generation. Additionally, discounts and savings appeal to them (80% value free delivery, 74% of Gen Z value discounts): which could incentivise adoption of challenger banks’ premium accounts.
Monzo Plus has seen mild success with discounts offered within their paid tier. For traditional banks, the same thing applies: meet Gen Z on digital channels, where they already are (like TikTok), and target them with pragmatic products focusing on budgeting, savings, investment or offer them discounts.
This generation is highly motivated to avoid financial mistakes they’ve seen past generations make: such as debt, low savings, excessive or emotional spending, which sets them up to be highly engaged customers for a host of financial services apps.
3. Investment and Crypto Are Hot Topics For This Generation
Gen Z feels good about investment…even if they don’t quite know what to invest in. They’ve dabbled in cryptocurrency, such as Dogecoin. Gen Z’s purchases sent the price of Dogecoin soaring after a few viral TikTok videos.
While Dogecoin might appeal due to it’s friendly meme-based mascot, Gen Z does value cryptocurrency for serious reasons: decentralization, privacy and financial inclusion. Social issues really matter to this generation: affecting purchasing decisions, the apps they use, where they work and who they hang out with., Crypto is an appealing concept to futuristic Gen Z segments who see bitcoin and similar currencies as ‘their currencies’.
Gen Z is also keen to learn about, and dabble in investment. The rise of apps like Freetrade (serious investment with fun descriptions), tickr (impact-led investment) and Finary (enabling pre-investment research and investment) demonstrate an interest in digitally delivered investment products. Mobile apps let Gen Z start with accessible amounts, as little as £5 scaling all the way up to larger, more serious amounts. There’s a strong Gen Z culture around investment: whether that’s following the WallStreetBets subreddit, Elon Musk’s twitter, or simply making TikTok videos about stocks. Investment products should start to focus on this generation of customers.
4. They’re Financially Savvy and Engaged
70% of Gen Z check their finances daily – they care about real-time monitoring and are highly engaged digital consumers. Gen Z also demonstrate a strong desire to learn about finance and money: a whopping 35% have attended a financial education program or seminar – nearly double the rate of all previous generations.
This means financial institutions have a strong opportunity to convert Gen Z customers via financial or product education, especially if it’s bite-sized. Think about why there’s a giant finance community on TikTok: it’s fueled by a desire for bite-sized learning and self-improvement.
Gen Z customers are financially savvy and highly digitally engaged – spending an average of 5 hours and 15 minutes a day on their phones (about 52 minutes a day of this goes to TikTok, an excellent channel to reach them). This segment is ready to adopt seamless digital experiences, especially if thy offer product education via short-form video on channels like TikTok and Snapchat.
We’ve seen this demonstrated first hand in our work with ‘Current’, a neobank looking to target Gen Z in the US. We promoted awareness of the product and fun features like getting paid two days early, seeing an incredible 276k views, with a dramatically low CPC of £0.83 on TikTok (pushing down the cost of each card shipped to $7.50). The results speak for themselves: Gen Z adopt products they see online, and remain highly engaged consumers once they do.
5. The Rise of Finfluencers
Wait…what are ‘finfluencers’?
Gen Z have turned to TikTok and Snapchat for financial advice thanks to the rise of ‘finfluencers’. These influencers are crucial in promoting financial knowledge and products across a range of finance topics like investment, budgeting, savings, discounts and even cryptocurrency.
‘Finfluencers’ on social media provide bite-sized, accessible financial literacy, making them attractive to a market who strongly value financial education (56% of Gen Z say financial education programs were extremely important). Additionally, across industries, Gen Z rely on influencers for product discovery and recommendations.
Finfluencers drive product adoption within their communities
We’ve seen the effectiveness of finfluencers firsthand in our work with MoneyHub. MoneyHub wanted to drive installs and signups from a Gen Z market, through TikTok and Facebook Ads. We developed high-performing creatives featuring influencers, testing various approaches.
We achieved awesome results with a whopping 3.5 million views, 313 installs and the best CPI this subscription-based app had ever achieved. MoneyHub’s proactive approach to targeting Gen Z paid off, and we think brands are missing out on opportunities if they don’t leverage Gen Z’s desire for finfluencer and personal finance content (and products).
Gen Z is set to become the largest generation, with a ton of spending power and a strong motivation to educate themselves about personal finance, savings and investment. Traditional financial institutions need to adopt tailored approaches for this market, or risk losing out to challenger neobanks like Monzo whose aesthetic, tone and mission appeals to younger markets.
Platforms like TikTok, with an audience heavily weighted towards Gen Z are key drivers of product discovery and app installs. We have seen this approach across industries, but Gen Z’s strong motivation to learn about finance and avoid financial issues makes it easier to engage them with this kind of content.
In short, there are compelling and urgent reasons for traditional financial institutions as well as as fintechs to engage Gen Z. If you’re a fintech app (across investment, personal savings, banking or payments) or a traditional bank looking to win the hearts of Gen Z, get in touch with us today!