A new generation has hit the business world. Generation Z now represents the fastest growing sector of the American workforce.
Just like their predecessors - the baby boomer, Gen X, and the millennial - Gen Z has distinct characteristics and views influenced by technology, the economy, and historic events. As a marketer, employer and business professional, it’s important to understand how to connect with this generation in a meaningful and personal way.
In the second part of our generational marketing with promotional products series we dive into the best promotional products for Gen Z. The following traits, characteristics and gift categories will help you better connect with any Gen Zers in your target market.
Who Is Generation Z?
Gen Zers are born between the years 1997-2012 and currently represent about 27% of the US population. What sets them apart from other generations, is their relationship with technology. Gen Z is the only generation made entirely of digital natives. They were raised with both the internet and social media as norms.
With information constantly at their fingertips, they’ve developed strong views on social justice, political activism and sustainability. Social media has fueled their need to be creative. It’s also led them to crave real and personal connections with brands.
So how does a brand connect with a generation made entirely of digital experts? It takes a bit more thought and intentionality to build a genuine relationship with Gen Zers. Promotional products specifically chosen with these generational passions in mind can help bridge the gap between your business and Gen Z prospects, customers or employees.
So let’s take a look at the best promotional products for Generation Z.
Technology Gifts for Digital Natives
Gen Z’s native use of technology is their defining characteristic. Unlike their generational cousins, the Millennial, Gen Z was born into a world already in the middle of the digital revolution.
Take a look at these stats. Ninety-five percent of Gen Zers have access to a smartphone, while 45 percent say they are almost constantly using the internet. Ninety-one percent even say they keep their devices in bed with them when they go to sleep. Their constant use of technology is different than any other generation’s digital relationship.
Executive Vice President of market research firm PSB, Jack Mackenzie, says it best. “They just think of [technology] as the way it is. It’s just ingrained into their minute-by-minute behaviours.”
So when selecting promotional products for Generation Z, it’s essential you consider their daily use of technology, and what items can work alongside the devices they might be using.
You really can’t go wrong with any tech item. But we’ve found some of the most appreciated promotional product gifts and giveaways are those that are both practical and useful. Mobile power banks that allow users to charge their phones on the go are popular among Gen Zers. Plus, four-in-one USB charging cables or charging hubs are always appreciated. With so many different devices, compatibility is always a concern for many Gen Zers.
Consider bluetooth earbuds or headphones that allow them to connect easily to their devices while they’re working. Also popular are various phone accessories like cell phone wallets, popsockets, or ring holders.
Browse our technology collection for more ideas.
Self-Care Promotional Products
Coinciding with Gen Z’s reliance on digital devices, is the challenge of screen time fatigue. Some actually refer to them as the “loneliest generation” with their internet habits driving many to long periods of isolation. In fact, 49% of Gen Zers are said to describe themselves as frequently lonely, while 64% describe themselves as stressed.
Because of these trends, many Gen Zers have started prioritizing their self-care. Mental health is no longer stigmatized by this generation, and they are known to be quite open about discussing their internal feelings and thoughts. Eighty one percent of Gen Zers consider themselves resilient and well attuned to dealing with their stress. Daily escapes are an important part of their lives.
Self care promotional products that promote stress relief and mindfulness will resonate well with Gen Zers. Consider products that incorporate essential oils, USB or electronic diffusers, and even spa kits. Aromatherapy is a huge hit among this younger generation, and promotional products that offer calming sensations are usually in high demand. Stress relief balls are also perceived well among Gen Zers and work well at home or in the office.
Cause Marketing Gifts
Gen Zers are known as cause-based buyers. This means that they want the brands that they associate with to reflect their own beliefs and philosophies. This is a trend we’ve seen passed down from Millenials. But Gen Zers have been known to place even more emphasis on authenticity. They want to see brands not only “walking the walk”, but “talking the talk”. That’s where marketing and social give back items come in.
Two-thirds of Gen Zers say their impression of a brand is positively impacted with its association with a social cause. So instead of just purchasing products that align with whatever cause your audience supports, consider actually supporting that cause with your products. Better yet, consider investing in products that do both.
We’ve listed a few product lines below that align with cause marketing values. Here’s what each one supports:
Basecamp Products - For every Basecamp product that’s sold, a portion of proceeds are donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. This nonprofit organization helps provide comfort items to wounded soldiers returning from overseas.
Miir Insulated Bottles & Tumblers - Miir is a company that sets aside a portion of its entire revenue to fund projects focused on clean water, healthy environments, and strong communities. What’s cool about this brand is they include a special code with each of their bottles or tumblers that allows customers to register and connect with a project or community.
EcoSmart Products - This product line partners with the organization 1% For The Planet. One percent of sales go to environmental nonprofits that support clean water systems in Africa and reforestation projects around the world. Not to mention the product line itself is made entirely of eco-friendly materials.
Welly Copper-Lined Tumblers & Bottles - Welly contributes 1 percent of sales to charitable efforts that help make clean water more accessible to communities around the world.
Browse our cause marketing gift collection for more ideas.
Fully Customized and Bold Products
Social media is likely the culprit for Gen Zers’ need to create a personal brand. Personalization is a trend that’s gotten more and more popular among this younger generation. With the rise of influencers and user-generated content, Gen Z is looking for ways to stand out, and they often use products and apparel as ways to stand out and express their values and identity. According to Bloomberg, Gen Zers are looking for products specifically tailored to them, with 50% of Gen Z consumers wanting personalized products.
When it comes to promotional products for Generation Z, don’t be afraid to go big and bold. Be sure to assess what your target audience values, and consider designing a fully customized promotional item just for them.
Gen Zers want to stand out, and you can use fully custom promotional products to help them do so.
Browse our full custom promotional product collection for more ideas.
The Best Promotional Products for Gen Z Create Personal Connections
Generation Z wants brands to be true and real. This is a trend we’ve seen rise in consumers as a whole, but Gen Zers have taken it to the next level. So the best promotional products will help brands look authentic and personal.
Create connections that Gen Zers will value on a human level. By choosing personal products targeted to your ideal Gen Z customers, you’ll be one step closer to attracting, delighting and converting Generation X.