Social media is here to stay. How future generations use it, however, is already drastically changing. While many have noticed that Gen Z and Millennials are steadily logging off for longer, it’s not to say that they’re forgoing the digital world completely. They’re simply looking to be more responsible, and hoping the world does the same.
In order to better understand this, let’s take a step back and realize that, not even five years ago, marketers and business insiders predicted the demise of the brick-and-mortar store. Legacy brands such as Macy’s were going under, and staple stores like Lord and Taylor were shutting down their flagship locations. Then, suddenly, the marketing world noticed an interesting trend—the resurrection of in-store shopping. And it’s all thanks to Gen Z and Millennials.
Many have gathered that this uptick in younger demographics shopping at brick-and-mortar locations has to do with a need for a break from the internet. It’s a much welcomed (and long overdue) break at that. However, brands would be incorrect in assuming that Gen Z and Millennials are looking to get rid of social media all together. Similar to diets, it’s more a matter of balance.
When asked whether or not the popular pastime of Snapchat streaks—consistently Snapping with friends for days on end—should be banned, 79.1 percent of Tylt audiences voted “no.” If younger generations are so burned out on social media, wouldn’t one assume an overwhelming majority would want to be rid of Snapchat streaks entirely? What’s more, when asked whether they disconnect from the World Wide Web to relax, 55.2 percent claimed they can very well relax signed on, thank you very much, something completely contrary to what others assume.
Based upon this data, it would seem that social platforms remain an important part of the lives of the youth despite their newfound appreciation of taking time off from it. Younger generations—particularly Gen Z—have simply gotten wise to the negative effects of using these platforms too much. So while many believe that the pervasive use of Photoshop by influencers is a problem (73.3 percent) and that companies should implement age limits across their social platforms (74.2 percent), many realize it will continue to be a part of their day-to-days. Some even look at social positively, with 65.8 percent of Tylt voters still of the mindset that the internet is a place to make solid friendships.
All of this points to a generation looking for a little technological prudence. In order to comply with this while also offering the ease of online buying, brands should seek to cultivate a phygital shopping experience—merging the authenticity and realness of brick-and-mortar stores with the convenience of e-commerce. The brands that leverage said phygital experience will be both respecting consumers’ wishes and ensuring future tech is being used responsibly. It’s building brand loyalty while investing in a better future.
The physical and the digital can coexist; one does not have to perish while the other thrives. Brands would do well to rely on both in order to cater to upcoming shopping generations that seek to maintain some realness in a world dominated by rapidly developing technologies. It’s a societal reboot that can keep the economy going, and ensure the well-being of future folk both online and off.