By Andrew Rogers
Have you noticed something a little different recently? Something about your last trip to the shops? Perhaps it’s something you’ve heard?
If you’ve been shopping this week, chances are you’ve heard the opening jingle bells of Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You while making your purchase. It’s the annual reminder that the Christmas season is now well underway.
However, for anyone looking to buy Christmas presents for their teenage children (or as we marketing people call them, Generation Z), there’s much more that they want for Christmas.
It’s not just parents though that need to understand what makes Generation Z tick this Christmas. It’s also all brands trying to reach a generation that’s more difficult to reach and less brand loyal than ever before.
So, while you deck the halls, here’s our quick guide for brands looking to make the yuletide bright with Generation Z.
Select brands with the right values
More than any other generation, Gen Z deeply care about the values that brands have. It’s not just enough to have the best product, it’s now vital to also have values that people want to be associated with. This extends to the online space, where brands that fall down can expect (perhaps rightly) to be called out on social media.
For parents (and brands) getting the right gift also means picking the right company behind the brand. It used to be that you just needed to select the brand that was cool. Now you also need to pick the brand that’s woke.
Don’t forget about the environment
Gen Z are increasingly dreaming of a Green Christmas. While other generations might see Christmas as a chance to splurge and over-indulge, younger generations believe that environmental responsibility needs to extend to every day of the year.
Brands should, therefore, avoid anything this Christmas that comes across as needlessly wasteful or unsustainable. Plastic toys in Christmas crackers are increasingly becoming a thing of the past. It’s about time.
Ownership is less important
It’s been true for a while that younger audiences value experiences over physical items. This is even truer when viewed through the frame of sustainability. Many younger shoppers don’t want throwaway presents and would rather opt for digital products, such as music subscriptions or video games. Similarly, experiences (particularly highly shareable ones) will continue to be a hot trend for Christmas shopping.
Brands still matter though
That all being said, most teenagers will still be putting specific brands on their Christmas lists. Having the ‘right’ brand is still a status symbol, particularly in a world where people feel the need to always share. Take for example the VSCO Girl craze. Named after the popular video editing app, the trend requires very specific brands. Fjällräven backpacks, anyone?
Parents and brands alike need to understand Gen Z if they want to get it right this Christmas. Either that or stick to the socks. You can never go wrong with socks.
Andrew Rogers is an account director in Allison+Partners’ London office.