How COVID-19 is Affecting Gen Z

By: Wendy Greenwood, Contributing Author

The current COVID-19 health crisis has upended everyone’s lives and Gen Z is no exception. As marketers begin to plan for what’s next, it’s critical to consider what the future might look like for this important demographic. A new study conducted in March by Amplify Solutions helps us better understand how Gen Z is responding and adapting to the COVID-19 crisis in Canada.   

The impact on Gen Z  

Almost 1 in 3 respondents have been laid off, had an internship cancelled, or had their work hours reduced. The majority of Gen Z consumers are living at home with their parentsAnd they’re anxious – even more than before – about a lot of things. They worry about friends or family contracting the virus. They worry about their future job prospectsThey’re also anxious about what life will look like after the restrictions are lifted. 

So how are they using their time offThe majority (76%) are learning new, practical skills that will expand their personal and professional development to make them more employable.  

This provides marketers with many opportunities to connect with Gen Z. From home entertainment to fitness, brands can provide practical solutions that inspire learning and fun. 

What Gen Z is looking for 

With less disposable income, Gen Z is also looking for value. Females are shopping online more frequently than males, but they’re spending less (-17%). Males are spending more (+6%) and are looking for online courses and books. Brands can deliver value by offering practical advice and help to get them through this crisis. 

Gen Z is also looking for transparency now more than ever before. How can you show you care for people, especially your employees? Canadian women’s fashion brand Aritzia established a Community Relief Fund, with 100% of the proceeds to support its employees. So far it has raised more than $7 million through online sales with its “Thanks to You” sale. It’s a win-win for consumers and employees. 

How Marketers are responding 

Many brands are stepping up and engaging with youth in authentic ways to help reduce their feelings of loneliness and improve their quality of lifeArt galleries, museums and even shopping centres are creating virtual feel-good experiences. Garage, a clothing retailer targeting young women, has produced a series of “how-to’ videos ranging from tie-dying to baking cupcakes.  Unisex retailer American Eagle has just launched a concert series featuring live-streamed performances where viewers can donate, and the retailer will match donations up to $100,000 to aid in COVID19 relief efforts.  

Shoe brand Toms is already well positioned with its Global Giving Fund, in which one-third of its profits are donated to support local partners across the globe on the front line of the health crisis. It just launched a video series, “Tomorrow in :30,” that connects customers to the “hardworking people and organizations on the other side of every purchase.” The first in the series features the “Crisis Text Line” to support mental health. 

In planning for the future, consider how you can double down on your brand ‘s social purpose to win their trust. To survive this difficult period, marketers can offer helpful and practical solutions for staying healthy and fit. Think about what kind of experience your brand can create for Gen Z in their home and on social media. 


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