Trend Report: Generation Z says sayonara to labels

Generation Z a new key customer segment: How to capture their hearts

Introduction by Tadashi Inokuchi

Tadashi Inokuchi portrait
Tadashi Inokuchi, Dentsu PR Executive Officer and Chief PR Planner

After the much-talked-about Millennials come Generation Z. Often described as “digital natives,” this demographic makes up almost 15 percent of Japan’s population. Their attitudes and values, shaped by ideals of fairness and sharing, differ significantly from their Millennial predecessors.

No longer driven simply by their own individual preferences, Generation Z-ers look for things that can benefit society as a whole. In keeping with this spirit of altruism, sharing is a key concept, and that applies to both information, and material goods and services.

Still, that doesn’t mean personal preference is abandoned completely—far from it. When it comes to choosing content, these young people favor personalized platforms, and are happy to provide all manner of personal information in exchange for extensive customization.

For marketing professionals in Japan, a key question for the immediate future is how to win over Generation Z, while adapting to the major infrastructural changes that are taking place, including Japan’s long-overdue embrace of the cashless marketplace and the rollout of a 5G communications ecosystem.

 

The Postmodernism of Generation Z: For the new generation, everything is built on the ideas of fairness and sharing

Carefree Gen Z
Generation Z-ers feel personally invested in social issues and take a mindful approach to diverse lifestyles

Generation Z represents a cohort of true digital natives who grew up with communications technology. Over the next 10 years, their emergence as a major market player is expected to drive a shift in the norms of consumption that places more emphasis on interpersonal connections and emotional rapport.

In contrast to earlier generations in Japan, these young people are much more open-minded when it comes to issues like gender and sexuality. A key factor underlying such attitude shifts is the way social media and the internet have exposed Generation Z to diverse value systems from around the world. Allied to this plurality of outlook is a keen awareness of issues facing society. Many Generation Z-ers act with a focus on ideals of fairness, equality, and sharing.

 

“Generation Z can help make the world a better place.”

A perspective from musician Emi Kusano

Portrait image of Emi Kusano
Emi Kusano, Musician, Satellite Young

When Millennials like me were in our teens, and Generation Z were kids, the influence of mass media began losing its hold. Times have changed, and more than any previous generation, we have easy access to vast amounts of information and data.

That’s certainly true of my own experience as a 28-year-old, but because individual Generation Z-ers are likely to have grown up with gradual exposure to an even more unique section of content with still less overlap between peers, it can be difficult to characterize Generation Z’s values in a nutshell. However, if I had to give an answer, I would say that many of these young people place great importance on identity.

For example, many of my own friends in Generation Z tend to reject labels like masculine or feminine, young person, otaku, etc. Just as they are comfortable using multiple social media accounts in different ways, they seem to view all of their various selves—at school, with shared-interest peers, and on the internet—as legitimate aspects of their true identities. The way they incorporate these multifaceted selves into their own personal identity, coupled with the understanding that everyone is equally human, feeds back into greater tolerance for diversity.

I believe the ideal society is one that finds ways of living in harmony with technological advancements, while continuing to reassess and update its moral values. Realizing this will require the courage to accept differences as part of a constant dialogue, and in this sense, I really don’t feel much of a generation gap with Generation Z. I see them as allies I can depend upon to help make the world a better place, together.

 

Dentsu Public Relations Trend Report Team

Tomomi Hosoda
Business Development Division

Yuki Watanabe
Information Design Division

Masahiko Kashiwagi
Information Design Division

Mayuko Ogura
Information Design Division

Mai Nakazawa
Information Design Division

 


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