Finding Mobile Natives in Their Natural Habitat

While marketers have been focused on millennials for years, it’s time to get to know Generation Z. This new “it” crowd is made up of 4 to 24 year olds. There is one overriding trait that separates this up and coming group from the older millennials and that is they have always had access to the internet. The primary vehicle for their access are mobile devices - hence “Mobile Natives”.

Today’s teens got their hands on cell phones in elementary or middle school as opposed to high school or college. This shift is already visibly shaping behaviors, most notably shopping on their phones as opposed to desktops.

Millennials, born between 1979 and 1995, were the mobile pioneers. Today’s Gen Z teens are mobile natives. These folks are living both a spontaneous, yet curated, digital life.

Some of the behavior may seem unfamiliar in many ways to older generations, but teens and adults do have one thing in common - all use their phones more than any other device. Perhaps the least expected aspect of online behavior is they are the only age group that says ads influence their perception of a “cool” product. According to research, the top 3 aspects of the “cool factor” are if friends are talking about it, if they see an ad about it, if it’s something personal to them.

To make a shift to understanding this age group, it’s also key to realize they are both aware and wary of the dependence on technology. Despite this, it is still shaping their lives daily. Watching mobile video is how they spend a lot of their time. This point alone should scream YOU SHOULD BE PRODUCING MORE VIDEO!!!

The number one thing driving Gen Z purchase decisions are aesthetics. With that being understood, it would make sense that your digital presence be as clean and attractive as possible. In fact, design is more important to this generation than any that has come before. Being a digital native has molded extremely high expectations that your financial institution absolutely has to knock out of the park.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this group is small or insignificant either. Gen Z makes up around 30% of the population and next year will account for 40% of consumer spending. They are buying cars and taking out loans. Who they do this with will really depend on the steps financial institutions are taking today.

As a financial institution, how are you answering these questions?

  • Are you delivering a mobile experience that resonates with Gen Z?  

  • Are you portraying your brand in a way that greets digital natives where they are?

  • Are you actively running social media ads to reinforce your platform strategy?

Top 5 Screens used to view digital content by mobile natives