FEATURE7 November 2014

Money matters for Generation Z


Generation Z (those born after the mid 90’s) are the first generation to grow up in a digital age and an era of new opportunities. Often referred to as the ‘i generation’ they have also spent their formative years in a recession and are likely to be one of the first generations in decades to be worse off than their parents as Becki Jarvis explains.

With the proliferation of pay day lenders in the marketplace, escalating tuition fees and rising mortgage costs, Generation Z has been brought up in an era of debt. Awareness of payday lenders like Wonga is higher than many high street banks among today’s 8 – 15 year olds.

Thirty nine per cent of parents think it will be hard for their child to avoid getting into debt and 55% of 8- to 15-year-olds worry about borrowing money when they are older. This generation could benefit from more support to understand how to borrow money safely and 98% of parents welcome financial education in schools.

Keen savers

Nine out of ten 8- to 15-year-olds have some kind of savings, but a quarter have no goal for them – they actively enjoy the act of saving itself and seeing their money mount up. However, they feel ignored and unengaged by financial service companies – no financial brand achieved more than three out of five on the likeability scale (compared with brands like Apple and Amazon at 4.2.).

As this generation was born into the digital age and expects seamless integration as the norm – we believe financial brands need to deliver more interactive, multi-channel accounts and features to engage Gen Z more actively, while helping parents promote budgeting and saving.

Ignore this generation at your peril

This generation is a significant consumer group. Post-Christmas is the key annual spending window – on average 8- to 11-year-olds receive £53 and 12- to 15-year-olds £84 for Christmas – but are often overlooked by brands and retailers.

Retailers are lagging behind in delivering a genuine omni-channel experience to this age group.

This generation still live predominantly in a cash economy and while online is a key research channel this doesn’t convert into sales as children lack safe tools to buy online. Seventy per cent of 8- to 11-year-olds and 89% of 12- to 15-year-olds research products online but only 37% regularly buy online.

Shopping is a highly social activity for Generation Z and online needs to work harder to deliver the retailtainment and interactivity they seek in bricks and mortar environments.

Sociability is key to this generation’s shopping choices; environments that aid interactivity and browsing rate are key destinations. Gift cards are welcomed as a means to regulate their spend – harder to fritter away. Parents also endorse pre-paid cards as a tool to enable controlled learning about budgeting but awareness is currently low.

Digital living

Generation Z integrates technology seamlessly into their lives. It is part of their lifestyle and a medium for relationships, that previous ‘Gens’ never experienced. Photos and videos communicate more for this generation than Facebook and texts. Lines are often blurred between work and social life, public and private. From Mumbai to Manchester their technology knows no bounds and they are the first generation to be influenced the world over by the same brands, fashion, music and food.

Technology has escalated expectations; fitting in, is no longer about branded trainers but big ticket electronics. Parents aspire to teach sound financial practice and prudence but in reality juggle with wanting their child to be happy and the power of peer pressure. However, material goods are not the be all and end all.

Experiential values are key to attracting parental spend – parents fear this generation may miss out and prioritise experiences that help them develop as a rounded individual in a digital world.

Growing up in a connected world

The experiences of their parents have influenced Generation Z. They are cautious and conservative – they expect to knuckle down and work hard, prioritising education and employment above all. For three in four getting a good job is the top mention in terms of what will make them happy when they are older.  

Meanwhile, parents are pragmatic but nervous about their prospects – getting on the property ladder and getting a job are key concerns. Sixty-four per cent think buying a house will be a challenge for their child and 28% think getting a job will be challenging.


Trinity McQueen conducted more than 800 online dual response interviews: 400 x 8- to 15-year-olds and 400 parents. It also conducted 12 extended three hour in-home immersion sessions with families with children aged 8 to 15, spending time with children, parents and the whole family unit.

In addition it asked participants to complete spending diaries; with both children (children’s spending) and parents (spending on children) completing the task via an online App or paper based.

Research was conducted in July and August 2014

Becki Jarvis is account director at Trinity McQueen

1 Comment

5 years ago

Where can i get the whole study about this generation?

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