Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

by | Apr 25, 2019 | Public Relations

The younger crowd is making an impact and leaving a mark on the way business is done, no matter the sector. Besides how they use social media and consume media, Generation Z is shifting industries—and those changes offer a window into teen and young adult behavior that have implications across many categories.

Teen-focused brand engagement agency Fuse has released new data about the industries that Gen Z is impacting. Check out these insights:

Meat—or Should We Say, Meatless

When we think of young people and food, we generally think of flavor and fun. No doubt, teens spend money on snacks, beverages, and sweets while shopping mainly at convenience stores and vending machines. But when it comes to one food category, a new and powerful dynamic has emerged.

According to research conducted by American foodservice provider Aramark, nearly 80 percent of Gen Z plan to go meatless 1-2x per week. This research study aligns with many others that indicate that Gen Z already includes more self-identified vegetarians than previous generations.

So why does this matter if you’re not in the food industry? Well it turns out that young people aren’t just going veggie for health reasons, but because of its environmental impact. From that perspective, Gen Z’s views will have an influence on a wide range of industries from household goods to apparel.

Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

Higher Ed’s Results “Crisis”

It’s en vogueto call out the “crisis” of higher education. There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities, so it doesn’t sound much like a calamity on either the buy or sell side. Rather, the higher ed landscape is changing at the pace you’d expect in an industry in which its consumers have evolved their buying decision criteria.

Gone are the days of party schools and six years to graduate. Gen Z likes to play it safe and their risk-averse demands of the college they choose include efficiency, economy, and results. They plan to move through their college experience without delay, maximizing their four years, and no more. Their economic principle is simple—leave with as little student debt as possible. And last, they are motivated by career outcomes. If this sounds familiar, it’s because the new Gen Z profile is similar to that of adult learners.

Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

Banking’s App Problem

Gen Z will soon to be the largest generational demographic, and will therefore soon dominate overall consumer consumption. And in order to consume, they will need a bank. The problem for the banking industry is that their foundation is the opposite of Gen Z’s preferences.

While young consumers desire unique retail experiences, banks tend to be stale. Whereas Gen Z is accustomed to simple sign-ups, often with a single click linked to an existing app they already use, banks tend to make every interaction complex and repetitive. And to a mobile-first generation who appreciates new apps every day, banking apps seem outdated.

Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

Gyms and Health Clubs Need to Get Holistic

According to Club Industry, Gen Z represents 15 percent of all health club members. The challenges to the gym industry are complex. To begin with, Gen Z does not share their older counterpart’s definition of fitness. While Gen X and Y abide by a traditional definition (I.e. cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, body composition), Gen Z takes a holistic view that includes physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and intellectual fitness.

For these young consumer, the gym industry’s yearly fourth and first quarter advertising centered on weight loss is not relevant. While 70 percent of Gen Z say they work out regularly, only half go to a gym, while the other half relies on free workouts online and inexpensive fitness apps.

Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

Real Estate’s Turn to Head to the Suburbs

Location, location, location—except for Gen Z. Despite the trend in recent years toward city-dwelling, Gen Z seems likely to reverse its course, voicing more interest than Millennials in suburban living.

When it comes to why Gen Z is turning away from city life, the study found four statically equal themes; (1) Cost is almost always a key consideration for young people. Having (2) additional living space and (3) amenities are important. And while “connectivity” is often a term applied to urban settings, young people believe they are just as likely to (4) find their community in the suburbs.

Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

Funerals (and the Record Business)

Funerals. That’s right—Gen Z is changing how people are buried. According to research from Simplicity Cremations, 25 percent of young people in Great Britain want their ashes to be compressed into a vinyl record, and another 25 percent would like their ashes to be used to generate power. This is just a sample of the behavioral shifts we see in the youngest generation—the desire to be thought of uniquely or to be directly connected to the environment.

Six industries Gen Z is changing forever—and what we can learn from them

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter