For a long time Millennials have been the most relevant cohort for brands to connect with, but it’s time to start thinking about Centennials.

Centennials may be the new kids on the block in terms of purchasing power, but they are already key drivers in consumer purchasing behaviour and, like Millennials, value experiences over material possessions

The first Centennials – also known as Gen Z – turned 21 last year. They were born in 1997 and were 10 years old when the iPhone was launched.

According to Kantar Consulting Global Monitor’s Centennials at 21 report, they are mobile ‘natives’, with 80% of them using a mobile phone to access the internet.

For a long time Millennials have been the most relevant cohort for brands to connect with, but it’s time to start thinking about Centennials Click To Tweet

Operating in a connected world with information at their fingertips, Centennials navigate social media and digital products with instinctive ease. They are the most active generation on social media and are also the ones most likely to identify with their online selves.

Authentic Gen Z influencers, such as model Leia Immanuel who posts makeup-free images without covering her acne, resonate with an audience that is taking a frank approach to the challenges it is facing.

According to Kantar, Centennials are a product of the volatile nature of the world around them, and with all the hard facts readily available for them to see, they have had to adapt to living in a more unpredictable environment.

They expect a future in which resources are scarcer and this has seen them develop problem-solving skills. They also value diversity and authenticity, with 74% saying that feeling comfortable with expressing who you are is extremely or very important to them.

But why should a generation currently aged 0-22 already matter to brands?

Kantar says that Centennials may be young, but their technological skills outstrip those of their parents, and many families look to their youngest members to advise them on the purchasing process.

When it comes to family spending, 73% of Centennials influence how their parents spend money on household goods, 76% influence the purchase of furniture, and 61% influence the purchase of electronic goods. They are developing brand loyalties and advise their parents accordingly.

The report also found that 60% of Centennials refuse to use an app or website that is too slow to load, 62% will not use a platform that is hard to navigate, and 63% say they have installed ad blockers to prevent interruptions.

For a generation that is always on its phones, a mobile strategy offering a friction-less experience would look to be the way forward for brands developing a marketing plan. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that 35% of UK Centennials say they are aware they spend too long on their phones. If young people are looking to cut their phone time, marketing material needs to be carefully tailored for them to be willing to stick around to engage with it.

There is something that Gen Z has in common with the generation that went before it. The report found that 71% of Centennials and 67% of Millennials are always on the lookout for new experiences to liven up everyday activities – the trend for prioritising experiences over material possessions looks to be gaining momentum.

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