Money makes the world go round. Here’s how Gen Z approaches their chunk of change.
Despite some attempts to democratise the conversation around money (wonga, cheddar cheese, readies, spondoolies, bunce, paper, bread, guap, the bag etc.) among the older generations (weep, those of us 30 plus) it’s still seen as somewhat vulgar to discuss cash.
And, yes, no one else on the bus wants to hear you loudly talk about your pay rise / holiday / how much money your parents have put into your new flat. Trust us.
But, a more open discussion about our cash andchow we’re investing can be hugely beneficial – especially so in an economic crisis with inflation and energy bills at an all time high. Gen Z knows this. They are a bit more switched on – they see this secrecy around cash as a hindrance to equality.
It’s a take that is, ahem right on the money...
STACKS ON STACKS ON STACKS
Sad news for the oat flat white industry, Zoomers are savers. When asked what they’d do with an extra £50 a week, two-thirds of those questioned said they’d save it. R.I.P the good old spending spree- or so you’d think. They’re not saving for retirement, they’re saving to splurge on big investments in hobbies, luxury items, travel and other enriching experiences.
What’s more, our youth network has shown that there is often a gap between intention and reality. And particularly for students, their spending habits fall into peaks and troughs throughout the year. As Selina, 21 said, “I work to spend,” and that reflects some of the patterns seen by Seed in the last few years.UK students have an estimated £12 billion spending power, and after rent costs, purchases are evenly split between necessities and luxuries. If you consider that 66% of students try a new brand within the first three months of starting university, it's a huge opportunity to connect with new consumers at the most formative period of their lives.
WOLVES OF WALL STREET
Having said that, Gen Z is a generation that likes to take things into their own hands. With traditional pathways to financial milestones increasingly out of reach, Zoomers are looking for alternative ways to secure their cash, and future. Older generations might be content to whine about the cost of living, sinking all of their hopes into a bi-weekly EuroMillions ticket, but Gen Z is out to make millions on its own terms.
Partly, this has to be driven by the rise of influencers and people getting rich for everything from dancing to playing video games to, erm, farting in jars online.
But, there’s also a more concerted effort for Zoomers to learn about their finances, partly due to the rise of #fintok and investment tools leading a larger trend towards financial literacy and investment.
In other words, Gen Z is hugely aspirational when it comes to securing their future, and very driven even if they don’t save every penny.
Plot twist: despite this interest in investment, not every Zoomer qualifies for a chair on Dragon’s Den. While Gen Z might understand virtual money and Bitcoin more than older demographics (do older generations even know how to turn a computer on?) to say they’ve mastered it isn’t accurate.
Two thirds of Zoomers flat out aren’t interested in crypto currency (sorry, Elon) with an additional 10% saying they might give it a virtual whirl but would prioritise other investments.
Male Gen Zers are less likely to rule out crypto, with 50% of them saying they would give it a try, while 75% of female Zoomers don’t fancy it at all.
Crypto currencies were set to democratise finance and give agency to those outside of the traditional banking system. It’s ironic, then, that the vast majority of crypto investors lie in Britain’s financial (and IRL) capital, London.
A third of Gen Zers living in the Big Smoke thought crypto might be their ticket to a baller lifestyle, while just 10% of those living elsewhere in the country thought it worth their time.
When it comes to Non Fungible Tokens, the pattern is similar to that of crypto. Overall, 70% of our survey thought that NFTs were a scam – yep, even the ones of that fed-up looking monkey.
What is surprising is how students and non- students see NFTs. Interestingly, 43% of non- students fancied a punt on NFTs while just 24% of students saw them as a solid investment. An indication of the side hustle and alternative route to riches mentality of non-students, perhaps?
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS:
PROFIT IN FREEBIES:
They’re money-conscious and value led. Give them the little things they don’t spend on or samples to entice them to product and brand engagement will increase. At Freshers Fairs, it's the brands that include the best giveaways or perceived high value items that get the best queues.
FEMALE FINANCE ENLIGHTENMENT:
Help to solve the gender gap. Education and community for women on finance is rising in demand - examine how they like to explore topics and who is talking to them. Not 5MinuteCraft level saving hacks but for women, by women expert advice.
APPROACH STUDENTS WITH A TAILORED STRATEGY:
The mindsets and purchase power of students tend to follow a similar pattern year on year but it’s essential that brands understand the term to term differences to maintain engagement.
HOW DO WE SEE THIS PLAYING OUT IRL?
TEETHING PROBLEMS, NFTS AS FUTURE INVESTMENT & VALUE BY ASSOCIATION
Although we’re currently seeing a lot of cynicism across the whole demographic, the growing sales of NFTs indicate that they are more than just hype. When chatting directly to our network, they all acknowledged that NFTs were likely to become more and more prevalent in the coming years and might hold money making opportunities – they just aren’t convinced at present.
Who makes NFT matters too. Nike, Adidas, Prada and Gucci have all released their own iterations and a ton of others have jumped on the bandwagon.But, not all NFTs are equal and there’s still a lot to figure out. Nike Cryptokicks were a raging success because people wanted an exclusive piece that, in all likelihood, because it was created by Nike, would rise in value. If, for example, Asda created them, they would be unlikely to raise the same furore, unless they pulled a Coachella (who supplied a lifetime access ticket to the festival) and added a value proposition. As Selina, 21 says, “The audience decides what does and doesn’t have value and that makes it volatile and off-putting.”
When it comes to NFTs there are still a ton of questions around copyright and ownership that cannot yet be answered. The huge environmental cost of energy-hungry NFT production also raises questions. But, the number one blocker right now is the lack of understanding among the wider public. In short, a lot of people still aren’t sure what an NFT is. As people become more informed and the other issues are ironed out, NFTs are likely to become just another tool in a brand’s toolbox.
You can acess the full What Matters To Us 3 report here.