Who are Zillenials? 

Zillennials are a widely unrecognised segment of the market; they’re the microgeneration born between 1993 and 1998 who hold common characteristics of both Gen Z-ers and Millennials, a ‘hybrid’ generation by all accounts. 

This age group had access to the internet growing up, but still experienced a portion of their life without having social media access, mobile phones, and high-speed WiFi at their fingertips, unlike most Gen Z-ers. They remember brands like Woolworths being part of their childhood when a Nintendo Wii was a more popular choice than the latest Xbox or Playstation console, and most remember a time before Google was the most used search engine…imagine that!

See below for a visual depiction of how a Zillennial ‘fits’ into the more widely recognised generational timeline. 

Understanding Zillennials as customers

You might be wondering how targeting Zillennials differs from targeting Gen Z or Millennials. While it’s not entirely different, this segment of individuals has a niche set of characteristics, some of which are mutual with Gen Z-ers and some that are mutual with Millennials, hence the “hybrid” description. These characteristics include: 

A day-to-day reliance on digital technologies 
On the whole, if something can be done digitally, Zillennials choose to do so. Convenience and efficiency play major roles in this; this generation is unlikely to spend more time doing something offline if they can do it more quickly and easily online.

For the benefit of almost all customers, now more than ever is a crucial time to ensure the digital experience your company offers is the best it can be, from start to finish. This is especially applicable to those aiming to attract Zillennials, Gen Z and Millennials - the generations of “digital natives”. 

Although, it’s worth noting here that Zillennials are less concerned about super-quick loading speeds for things like websites and apps than Gen Z, a trait they have in common with Millennials. 

Being values-driven 
Having common values with brands is something that’s highly valued by Zillennials. Be it sustainability, diversity, community or authenticity-related (to name a few!), a Zillennial is more likely to support brands who have aligned beliefs and values with their own, much like how people choose to be friends with others of similar beliefs and values. This means that if you want to target this age demographic, promoting your brand values can be just as important as promoting your products and/or services!

Purchasing as a means of expressing
To this microgeneration, self-expression can be achieved through purchasing particular products from particular brands; this inexplicitly links with being values-driven. Zillennials are concerned with making purchases that say something about what they value, believe in, or the person they’re striving to be. 

To give an example, a Zillennial might choose to pay a higher price for Fairtrade coffee grounds because they believe in fairer pay for workers and traders, and they strive to be someone who wants to make a difference. 

Zillennial repellents 

Although this demographic shares select common traits with Gen Z and Millennials, some traits possessed by one or the other of these two age groups also have the ability to frustrate and repel Zillennial customers. Here are some of the things you should avoid when targeting the Zillennial age category:

Content Overload 
Zillennials’ attention spans are somewhere between those of Gen Z and Millennials, 8 and 12 seconds, respectively. This means that this age group doesn't respond well to large amounts of information, particularly in text format. They’ll generally take a video over a piece of writing any day! This short attention span also means that having attention-grabbing content from the word go is a necessity. 

A sale-only experience
Gone are the days when the customer experience only consisted of searching for a product, buying it, then using it. 

Zillennials highly value knowing where their products have been sourced from, who helped make them, how the company they’re buying from treats their employees, along with many other related factors. Their customer experience should be viewed holistically, as opposed to a sale-only experience. This way, you’re more likely to attract and retain Zillennial customers because they see your company as being transparent and honest with them. Honesty is the best policy! 

Viewing social media as a platform instead of a tool
Social media may be a great way for your company to reach large numbers of people and increase your sales, but for Zillennials it is part of their lifestyle; it’s something they dedicate time to every day to connect with people and brands. This means that it provides a perfect opportunity for your company to utilise social media to form connections with Zillennials who support your brand and make them feel valued, rather than broadcasting static messages without interacting with your customers and wider audience.

Key takeaways

This blog has introduced you to a microgeneration of individuals you may not have heard about before: Zillennials. As well as this, it has briefly covered some dos and don’ts to give you some things to consider if this segment of people is part of your target audience. 

The purpose of this blog isn’t to make you think “Oh no, not another label”, but to simply to draw attention to a group of people who grew up not knowing where they fit in because they were born into a time just before a digital boom and had to adapt accordingly at a young age. Their experiences were different to those who fully ‘fit’ into the Millennial and Gen Z demographics and their buying behaviours and needs are different as a result. 

Knowing where, when and how to reach your target audience can be a challenge. At Reflect, we combine our expertise in behavioural science with technology and creative skills to help brands level up their marketing, engage wider audiences and increase conversions. If you’re interested in getting to know your audience better, then get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.  


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