Digital Natives Rule Back-to-School Shopping

Posted by Anna Keagy on August 17, 2015


With Back-to-School and college spending estimated to reach $68 billion in 2015, retailers are understandably turning their attention to those driving the spending. But who’s in the driver’s seat?

Generation Z.


According to Fast Company, Gen Z currently makes up a quarter of the U.S. population and will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020. A defined age group is still debated, but common consensus is anyone born in the mid 90s falls into the demographic. So clearly, someone born during those years would be school-aged at this point, meaning it’s vitally important for retailers to understand what these young consumers are looking for this school year.



So what is it exactly that marketers and retailers need to be aware of when it comes to Gen Z? This demographic is the first generation of digital natives and they’re all about their own style when it comes to fashion and products. According to AdAge, Gen Zers “look for products and messaging that reflect a reality rather than a perfect life. They respond to independence and entrepreneurialism, self-direction and a spirit of ingenuity.”

Brands wanting to appeal to Gen Z can win their loyalty by keeping these things in consideration: 

  • Gen Zers use an average of five screens a day (television, phone, desktop, laptop and tablet or gaming device). Retailers need to have a presence on all of these screens in order to create a seamless experience.
  • 76% of teens use social media. Building loyalty using social platforms should be a top priority for brands to reach these digital natives.
  • Brands should personalize marketing strategies to cater to this demographic. Considering how much influence Gen Z has on purchase decisions, it’s more important to market directly to them for Back to School than to their parents.


Topics: Retail