Depending on which report you read, generation Z consists of people between the age of 7 and 22 or 23.
They seem a bit young to start being the focus of your marketing efforts. However, according to this article, (Scroll down – you don’t have to download anything), “Hundreds of thousands have already purchased their first homes.”
Have they? I’m not in a position to know the answer to that one, but you are.
If members of Generation Z really are already buying in huge numbers, it might be a good idea to get acquainted with this age group and how they might differ from previous generations.
Pew Research did a survey of those between the ages of 18 and 24 to learn what it will take for you as a real estate professional to please Generation Z.
Note that it says Gen Z is the largest demographic, at 32% of the current population. A little further research told me that those between the ages of 18 and 24 make up about 10% of the population, or almost 33 million people. Pew Research surveyed 1,000 of them, or 0.003 of 1% of this group.
We don’t know where or how those 1,000 young people live. Are they urban, suburban, or rural? Are they young working people, college students, or unemployed? What income group do they come from?
You decide if the Pew Research findings are representative of young people in your market.
Some of what I thought was interesting in that report:
When they’ll buy:
14% expect to buy a home by the time they reach 24 years of age. These must be the 18-20-year-olds? 48% think they’ll be ready by 29, and 25% say they’ll be 34.
They cited school loans and saving for a down payment as the biggest things holding them back from home ownership.
What they want from an agent:
First, depending upon which report you read, 10% to 20% say they won’t use an agent at all.
After that, 27% will be looking for an agent who understands them. 18% want an agent who knows the local market, and 15% want an agent with experience.
What I got from the article is that they want you to teach them and lead them, but never to come across as knowing more than them. They’re informal with their elders and those in authority, and want to treat everyone as friends – including their employers.
Members of Generation Z also have some preferences about how you’ll reach them and communicate with them.
Most say they’re connected to technology for more than 10 hours each day, mostly with phones and mobile devices. They are likely to be looking at 5 screens simultaneously, and want their information short, concise, and fast. They’ll decide in a split second whether to read your message or move on.
They prefer to communicate via text. In fact, the survey said they’re apt to read your texts 98% of the time and your emails only 20% of the time. Unlike Millennials, who love to read and share postal mail, only 13% say they’ll read it.
They definitely aren’t focused…
According to a Microsoft study on young people’s attention spans, “Gen Zers spend more time in what’s described as “alternating attention.” In the course of a few minutes, they quickly jump from one social media account to another, flitting between subjects, circles of relationships and platforms. And when consuming streaming entertainment (such as Netflix), they usually have their phone out, alternating between the two screens.”
This, to me, is a little disturbing. They say this generation will expect you to explain what’s happening and why at each step in a transaction, but will they fully absorb what you tell them? We know from other studies that multi-tasking causes a 40% drop in productivity. I would guess it does the same for information retention.
They want privacy?
Interestingly, while they post nearly every detail of their lives on social media sites, they say they are interested in privacy and are sensitive to marketing methods that intrude on that privacy. According to Katie Sehl of Hootsuite, “authentic, non-invasive, personalized communication makes the strongest connection” with this generation.
I don’t think that makes this generation much different than the rest of us – does ANYONE like to be interrupted with ads popping up in front of what they wanted to read or watch?
What does Generation Z trust?
“According to Hootsuite, Generation Z turns to YouTube (24%) as its most popular platform for shopping recommendations, followed by Instagram (17%) and Facebook (16%).” This is probably something to watch as this generation matures, since preferences and fads do change.
Do you need to make changes to appeal to Generation Z?
For the most part, I think the answer is no.
- You’re already giving your clients choices in how you’ll communicate.
- You’re already taking care to see that they understand every step in a transaction.
- You’re already offering virtual tours, drone photography, and videos of your listings.
As for “understanding” them – I would assume that while you don’t delve too deeply, you’re always trying to understand your clients’ needs, preferences, and motivations.
The only huge differences…
The biggest difference that I see is that if you want to capture these young buyers, you’ll need to be consistent in using social media to present short, concise messages. Since they love YouTube, you may want to consistently post short videos to get your sales message across.
These may appeal to consumers in other age groups as well, so why not get started?
You’ll also need to text – whether you like it or not!
I’ve never been in favor of painting everyone in a generation with the same brush. After all, we are all individuals. However, we can’t escape the fact that technology has taken over our lives, and especially the lives of people who have grown up with a smart phone in their hands.
One component of that difference is that you’ll need to learn brevity. As Mark Twain pointed out, it is more difficult to convey information in a short message than a long one, so brevity in communication will be a learned skill for most of us.
I’m not really sure how you’ll explain all the steps in a purchase transaction via text, so it could be that those young people will have to bend a little – and use the phone or talk in person.
Meanwhile, keep on prospecting…
For now, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers make up a far larger segment of your likely buyers. So keep mailing prospecting letters and communicating in complete sentences. It should be a few years yet before you’ll need to make drastic changes to the ways in which you market yourself.
Teens with phones Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Young couple courtesy of Morguefile.com
Texting Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net