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Post truth climate ‘shaping consumer behaviours’

Gen Z’s consumer behaviours mean they’re rejecting marketers’ classic playbooks, and this all stems from their demand for the truth, according to new research.

Post truth climate ‘shaping consumer behaviours’

For the report “A Post-Truth Climate Is Shaping Gen Z’s Consumer Behaviors” Forrester interviewed 18- to 23-year-olds who represent the demographic makeup of Generation Z (born after 1997) and analysed their relationships with brands.

In the report, Research Director Mike Proulx shares insights on how brands reach the next-generation consumer without alienating the current (aging) customer base.

Key takeaways of the report

  • Gen Z prioritizes brand trustworthiness as truth remains under siege: 42% percent of Gen Zers tend not to trust the average American company, compared with just 30% of Millennials, 28% of Gen Xers, and 26% of the Baby Boom Generation.

  • Watching ads isn’t the same as paying attention to them. 40% of Gen Zers say they watch ads on traditional TV versus 34% of the Baby Boom Generation. How can we describe Gen Z as ad evaders if they avoid TV ads less than older generations? Because watching and tuning in are two different behaviors.

  • Traditional marketing is at odds with Gen Z’s fundamental truths: The percentage of 18- to- 23-year-old Gen Zers who think it’s cool to be associated with a brand on social media fell from 52% in 2019 to 46% in 2020 meaning that classic advertising mainstays are becoming obsolete.

  • Establish a meaningful marketing mix to reflect Gen Z behaviour: To truly earn Gen Z’s trust, brands must elevate their marketing strategy beyond experimental advertising tactics and embrace the key behaviours of Gen Z without pandering to generational stereotypes.


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