A global study of nearly 5,000 Gen Z people was carried out by Snap in partnership with Crowd DNA revealing what motivates Gen Z to engage with brands, what brands need to do to build deeper connections, and why brands need to embrace AR to remain relevant.

Visual communication is key for Gen Z, with 92% in the UK survey stating that they use some form of visual communication when messaging friends. Three in five state that they use visual communication to get a more personal connection, while 50% say they use digital avatars and Bitmojis to express themselves.

The study also shows the extent to which Gen Z values close relationships. Nearly three in four agree that connecting with close friends is the simplest way for them to feel happier. 69% of UK Gen Z respondents actually plan on spending more time connecting in person than before the pandemic (vs 63% of Millennials and 59% of Gen X).

The digital native generation

As the true ‘digital native’ generation, Gen Z is the driving force behind the shift towards more immersive shopping experiences, with 93% of those surveyed in the UK stating they are interested in using AR for shopping, with 88% interested in using AR to try on makeup or clothes.

AR also enables brands to connect with Gen Z, increasing the personalisation of visual content. 60% in the survey say AR experiences feel more personal, and 63% state that AR will make life easier. Other key findings include:

  • 44% of Gen Z now feel it is more important for brands to build connections with them
  • 80% of Gen Z are interested in using AR to enhance their entertainment experiences (vs 73% of Millennials and 65% of Gen X)
  • More than half (51%) of Gen Z say they are more likely to pay attention to an ad that incorporates AR

Gen Z also cares deeply about society and the environment, and the wider social impact of their lifestyles, with 66% of UK respondents stating they feel a responsibility to make the world a better place. 77% say issues around equality are important to them (vs 70% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X). 67% find value in taking action for the collective good and these respondents are three times more likely to want to use AR shopping tools to help reduce carbon emissions and their personal environmental impact.

Jo Tenzer, Head of EMEA Marketing Insights at Snapchat says, “This global study of 5000 is a true barometer of how Gen Z is feeling and communicating.  A powerful theme emerging from the study is the particularly strong desire among Gen Z to create meaningful connections with people and brands.

Brands need to respond to this by being open, honest, and clear with their goals, motivations, and values.  With a desire to express their true selves creatively and visually, Gen Z is also seeking fun, personalised, immersive, and social experiences. AR offers the tool for brands to seamlessly facilitate this by enhancing real-world experiences.”

If you’re a brand and you want to delve even deeper into how you can engage Gen Z and stay in tune with how immersive shopping and social commerce are developing, grab a ticket to IMS NYC to learn ever more about this ever-changing landscape.

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