Agriculture & Gen-Z: Marketing Your Business for Growth
Wondering what age group is your best bet for buyers?
You might guess the older generation – heads of households and empty nesters with the resources (and wisdom) to spend a bit more for quality. But this is a brave new world, and the youngsters are wasting no time making their mark.
Today’s teens and young adults – born 1997-2010 and dubbed Generation Z – are taking the world by storm. “Gen Z will soon become the most pivotal generation to the future of retail, and many will have huge spending power by 2026,” according to Pew Research Center.
Why is this important to you?
Because Generation Z is an audience of opportunity: if you can tell your story in a compelling way where Gen Z’ers will see it, your agribusiness can earn a loyal and influential customer base who will grow with you.
For starters, there is power in numbers. Generation Z is now the largest generation in American history, making up 27 percent of the population. Currently ages 10-24, they have edged out Millenials (born 1981-1996), who recently surpassed the long-influential Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). U.S. Census Bureau data from July 2019 showed approximately 74 million Gen Z’ers.
Yes, but do they have money to spend?
Estimates vary, but a 2019 survey published by marketing data firm WARC said Gen Z’ers spend $44 billion annually – and influence $600 billion in household spending – while Fortune magazine said they have $143 billion in purchasing power. And surveys show Generation Z spends one-fourth of their money on food.
“The food industry has recognized the marketing importance of Gen Z for some time,” said Robert Giblin in a February 2019 article for the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Agriculture, on the other hand, more recently began exploring the tremendous opportunities and formidable challenges presented by this generation.”
Gen Z’ers have strong opinions about food that drive their purchasing decisions. They are more socially and environmentally conscious than even Millenials, aware of issues like obesity and animal cruelty, and more likely to try healthy options, according to research conducted by Ologie. Gen Z’ers prefer natural and organic products – and importantly, 58% are willing to pay more for them.
They care about what a brand stands for, seeking authenticity and clear values like ethical business practices and sustainability. Gen Z’ers naturally identify with brands that advocate for organic, locally sourced, and farm-to-table methods, the Ologie study showed, “because they make us feel good, nutritionally and emotionally.”
This is where you come in.
Your farm business, if clear about what you stand for and what you grow, can cultivate an enthusiastic following of Gen Z’ers who will only become more influential financially and can help grow your customer base exponentially.
“All involved with U.S. agriculture need to engage – and create communities – with Gen Z,” said Giblin. “As customers, influencers and potential employees, Gen Z is the future. It is already an economic powerhouse. Its members will soon be in positions to drive policy decisions.”
So where do you connect with Generation Z?
Online, of course. They are the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital era. Gen Z’ers spend six to nine hours a day online, pay the most attention to video content, and are comfortable purchasing anything online – but only after checking you out carefully.
Despite spending so much time in front of a screen (or several), these young people prize a sense of community. “They crave interaction with others who share their values, and who can help them incorporate the expression of those values into their own personal brands,” Giblin says.
Generation Z’s number one reason for using the internet is social media. The most popular platforms with this group are YouTube (used by 85% of teens ages 13-17), Instagram (used by 73% of adults ages 18-23), and Snapchat. Just over half use Facebook.
According to a 2019 study by Adobe, Gen Z’ers are more likely than other generations to turn to social networks for inspiration, follow celebrities, “demonstrating why influencer marketing tends to perform well with a younger audience,” and follow brands, particularly on Instagram.
Not sure of the A-B-C’s of reaching Gen Z? Need to grow your online presence? We’re here to help.
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