Brands that aren’t already engaging with the newest generation of consumer are missing a huge marketing opportunity.

Also known as Generation Z, centennials are aged between 13-18 and already make up nearly a quarter of the population. This generation is growing up fast and they are already active consumers with their own unique demands providing a new set of challengers for today’s marketers.

Centennials are set to be one of the most difficult generations of consumer to engage with. Their expectations from retailers are bigger, their desire for information greater and their patience shorter than any other generation. Armed with technology, they are empowered with the tools to make their own decisions and find solutions independently. Marketers must be both innovative and quick to captivate the attention of centennials or risk being left behind.

The spending power of centennials

In PowerReviews’ centennial shopper study, it was discovered that centennials are resourceful when it comes to spending money. Nearly three quarters say they take their time with purchases by researching price, reading product reviews and looking at different brands. While nearly all centennials and millennials start their shopper journey online to research and browse, centennials are more likely than millennials to go in-store to make the final purchase. However, just 5% will do their research in store – giving a clear warning shot that retailers and brands should give centennials lots of information online early in their shopping journey.

Reviews trump perks and social media

Nearly three quarters of centennials say that quality is more important to them than price. So how do they determine quality? By reading online reviews. In fact, nearly half of centennials say they won’t purchase a product if there aren’t enough reviews. Reviews are now an expected part of the shopping experience with 95% of centennials searching and reading reviews to enhance and validate their product choice. The presence of online reviews is more valuable to centennials than a brand name or perks such as free shipping and over twice as many centennials trust online reviews more than their friends’ recommendations on social media. Retailer and brand websites that don’t have reviews are at a disadvantage and risk losing customers at a key part of their shopping journey.

Centennials want answers

Twenty-four-hour access to technology has made modern consumers impatient when it comes to wanting answers. And if they can’t get the information they need from retailers and brands immediately, they’ll turn to a competitor; over a third of centennials say they wouldn’t buy a product if they couldn’t ask a question about it. Centennials want to engage with retailers directly on their website and expect one-to-one attention.

While 95% of centennials read reviews, 60% read at least four before they buy, but two thirds say they haven’t left a review in the past month. So how can brands capture these highly demanded reviews? Interestingly, nearly a third of centennials said they would be most likely to leave a review if they were incentivised. Marketers should consider offering discounts on future purchases, a prize draw sweepstake or product sampling whereby loyal customers are sent samples in exchange for online reviews. This also helps to reward loyalty and build relationships with existing customers.

Engage at any stage of the shopper journey

The study affirms that engaging with centennials is not a single touch-point approach. Ecommerce and in-store should work in tandem so brands deliver a unified experience. Retailers and brands need to excel at welcoming and engaging consumers at any stage of the shopping journey. Online experiences need to be streamlined and accessible with relevant,engaging content that the centennial demands at an instant.


By Theresa O’Neil, Senior Vice President of Marketing at PowerReviews 


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