This article is part of the Human Stories series from Deloitte’s Fusion team. It’s where we delve into people’s lives to understand their emotions and motivations around money and financial decisions.
Gen Z at a glance:
Gen Z are a window into the future
Younger people lead the charge in seeking change in the world. With strong values and beliefs, Gen Z seek authentic relationships and have high expectations of the organisations they choose to engage with
They are digital natives
Gen Z struggle to identify with and accept the world created by the generations before them. So they are shaping a new world. One where online and offline are one and the same. Engaging in different ways and through new platforms.
Money is a feeling, not a number
They have unique characteristics and behaviours towards money and value and are forging their own ways to manage their finances.
They are financial shapeshifters
They use their mastery and innate understanding of the virtual world to fluidly circulate money between different digital storage units and platforms.
Behaviours will likely become ingrained
Gen Z are already either working around the constraints of the current system or bypassing traditional Financial Services (FS) companies and processes altogether.
Say hello to your new customer
Aged 10 to 25, Gen Z are a fifth of the population and the customer of the future.
There’s never been a generation like this. Dynamic and courageous, yet vulnerable and anxious. Gen Z are the catalysts we need to address big societal challenges such as climate change. They seek to build relationships with brands that reflect their values of authenticity, honesty and a desire to make the world a better place.
As digital natives, Gen Z have struggled to identify with existing systems and spaces. So, they are shaping new digital ones on gaming platforms, in virtual reality (VR) and more recently in the metaverse, spaces that most FS companies are yet to be active in.
“Almost 40% of respondents have used or use cryptocurrency.”
So, what does the future of FS look like?
It’s time to deepen our understanding and awareness of what is to come, to re-examine existing models and develop new ones. To put ourselves in the shoes of the future and become friends with it.
Gen Z are so fundamentally different it’ll require a radical change in approach. FS companies will need to look deep into the heart of how they operate, where and how they engage on platforms and collaborate in new partner ecosystems to design and assemble more relevant solutions.
Solutions that are yet to be realised
Gen Z are masterful shapeshifters. From trading on digital platforms and with new currencies in virtual worlds to creating digital art, they view, make, move and store money in hyper-fluid ways; often outside the traditional financial systems. Money has evolved into a value that’s stored across a variety of places, platforms, assets and forms. Some we understand and some we don’t.
“About 40% of respondents were either involved in entrepreneurial ways of making money, or have been in the past.”
It may seem at odds with how Gen Z and their love of technology are perceived, but they place real value on relationships. Not products or services. Not accounts. They seek trust, authenticity, human connection.
This, mixed with the feeling of not being in control, drives Gen Z to seek financial guidance and support. But this is happening in their language, in their digital worlds.
Eager to make positive change
Gen Z have a vulnerability unlike any other generation before them. All they’ve known is uncertainty and complexity and what they seek is security and simplicity.
The combination of economic instability and distrust in traditional institutions has amplified the power of the internet to shape their lives. This hyperconnectivity has meant that the ’global village’ is not just a metaphor but a lived reality for Gen Z, who experience and understand the world in terms of a global community of users.
Connected, they find security and greater certainty while scrambling to find their footing and authentic voice. The more things are pragmatic and believable, the greater stickiness they have. This can help calm anxieties and build trust.
To be a part of this generation’s future, the sooner you seek to understand and engage with them in their language, on their platforms the better. They are looking for something of meaning, something of value. Something that helps them create the world they want to see.
A hopeful future
Gen Z are showing us a window into the future. Their behaviours are accelerating the unbundling of the FS value chain, and the role empathy and hope play in customer loyalty.
Gen Z are striving to create a better world in all they do. They just need help doing it. FS has a huge role to play in this. It’s time to put ourselves in the shoes of the future, to get to know and befriend Gen Z. To engage them where they are and support them in creating more hopeful and sustainable futures.
To understand more about the research that underpinned this blog, to explore ways to engage this audience and co-create new propositions and services for Gen Z, message us at UKDeloitteFusion@deloitte.co.uk
At Fusion we explore what’s possible. Sparking connections to create better financial futures for all.
We are a team of strategists, researchers and designers who aim to uncover possibilities, making creative connections that help our clients get to the future, faster.
Get in touch to explore ways to collaborate on the future of FS: UKDeloitteFusion@deloitte.co.uk