Gen Zs are proving to be a very different bloc of investors and financial institutions must gear up to embrace alternative investments. [iStockPhoto]

Recently, we talked about the coming of age of Gen Zs who are now entering the workplace. We looked into who they are, what to expect from and about them and what they bring to the table.

To recap, we found out that these new cohorts of employees – born starting the late 1990s - are tech savvy, prefer job fulfilment over job description, thrive where the company culture is inclusive and engaging, and are looking for both personal and professional fulfilment and hate monotony.

It turns out that this generation is quite the quagmire to the older generations given the number of hilarious and concerned email feedback I received. Many people told me in frustration that they don’t know how to talk to this generation and worst still, don’t understand them.

Gen Z surpassed millennials as the largest generation making up 32 per cent of the global population. In Africa, 60 per cent of the population is below 35 years with more than a third of those being between the ages of 15 and 35. 

With these numbers, understanding how this generation thinks is a cornerstone strategy for any business battling it out in this competitive world.

Therefore, as a follow-up article, I decided to look into other areas we can expect Gen Zs to disrupt.

Gen Zs as investors and shareholders

From how they research, to what they invest in, Gen Zs are proving to be a very different bloc of investors and financial institutions must gear up to embrace alternative investments, alternative means of advertisement, venues of investments and even alternative currencies.

Surveys show that Gen Zs are five times more likely to get their financial advice from social media than previous generations.  It is not surprising that long-form information is not appealing to Gen Zs who, unfortunately, have very short attention spans.

Video format information is highly convertible with Gen Zs who turn to YouTube for financial advice and have been found to be more likely to consider a 60 seconds video of condensed financial advice than read a book.

Though the demographic is fairly young and doesn’t have a lot of disposable income, Gen Zs have shown no keen interest in traditional investments such as real estate, recurring rental incomes, or mutual funds as much as they have expressed interest in growth stocks, cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Gen Zs are armed with apps which significantly lower barriers to help them get started on trading. Instead of having to go to institutions and then queuing only to open domiciliary accounts, Gen Zs hop onto apps that allow them to trade globally.

Less than half of Gen Zs admit to having an account with a traditional bank or credit union. They are in very different financial positions from their parent and simply asking them to open checking accounts and get loan products doesn’t meet their need.

Traditional financial institutions have to take caution of the trends being set by this generation who we expect to make a big chunk of the client pool they intend to get in business within the coming years.

There’s a real need for financial advisers to have an online presence, all processes must be online and must be seamless as possible,

Inside the mind of Gen Z Consumers

Gen Zs make up roughly 40 per cent of the global consumer population. They are driving spending with an estimated spending power of $140 billion (Sh1.6 trillion) globally according to Bloomberg.

Africans aged 15 to 34 contributed to 55 per cent of consumer spending in a McKinsey report. They are behind some of the largest behavioural and cultural shifts we are witnessing and are making decisions today that will affect generations to come. So, what is going on in the mind of a Gen Z consumer?Gen Zs are actually not impulse buyers. They take their time to research and have been known to complete research online before making a purchase with over 80 per cent of Gen Zs reporting that they did online research before deciding to purchase.

Today, social media apps are no longer tools for connecting, networking and sharing personal details with friends, they are more purpose-driven. A majority of millennials and Gen Zs follow influencers and will seek the opinion of others before making a purchase. Social media platforms are today’s shopping windows.

Gen Zs are credited with being devoted to brands they identify with.

They are brand loyal and appreciate a strong brand. Brands that are able to connect with them and win them over through their brand story can enjoy long-term support. Novel brands that understand this generation and are able to tag onto their hearts can also rise very quickly. In the same spirit though, Gen Zs are social activists, and can quickly rally each other to boycott a brand they consider to have committed a social injustice.

So, it is important to maintain a squeaky-clean brand. Gen Zs are also quite sensible and even though they are just coming into their purchasing power era, the most mature of this cohort who are students and young professionals have proven that it is important for brands to balance between affordability and quality.

Gen Zs are also looking for quick transactions and deliveries. Remove any barriers and unnecessary procedures when it comes to purchasing. Make paying seamless through mobile transactions and complete the order with fast delivery of the product or service.

To meet Gen Zs’ expectations, businesses must catch e-commerce trends - have an online presence with valuable information as well as quick interactive interfaces. Also utilise influencer marketing but you must be able to tell a compelling story, nobody is buying into generic advertising anymore