HARMAN Luxury Update
Getting to Know Gen-Z and Who’s Zooming Who?
by Dave Tovissi
Vice President and General Manager
HARMAN Luxury Audio
At a recent meeting with other business leaders of HARMAN, I was fortunate to sit through a presentation by Damian Mackiewicz, Vice President of Huemen, our partner in research and industrial design. Damian asked us if we were ready for the next generation of consumers and challenged us to change our approach in how we design and market our products to make sure we will be appealing to Gen Z, often referred to as Zoomers. Damian has an incredible job which allowed him to spend months living and interacting with Zoomers across the globe to better understand how they feel about brands and what matters most to them when making a buying decision. He shared that this generation will soon account for $18T of goods purchased by 2030. That fact was also reinforced in an article I recently read by Fanbytes, predicting that Zoomers will be purchasing 40% of all luxury goods by that same year. That is an amazing statistic and one that we should all be paying attention to.
Damian’s presentation brought forth some of the many differences that were observed between Millennials and Zoomers. He also shared some interesting #hashtags depicting the differences.
Often companies determine their marketing efforts to luxury buyers by using keywords like premium finishes, craftsmanship, limited quantities, and exclusivity. Will those same things matter to Gen Z customers?
Before we can answer that question, we need to better understand the differences between Millennials and Zoomers.
Connecting and transacting with Zoomers will be heavily based on TRUST.
Trust is even more vital for luxury Zoomers. Research states that Gen Z consumers are willing to part with larger sums of their savings for a product that they may not have encountered in real life. They may have only interacted with these products in an alternative reality. Gen Z has grown up online and social media has been their lifeline. For that reason, they often trust social media influencers more than other form of advertising. Influencer marketing is becoming more prevalent and having the right influencer will help demonstrate that your products warrant a luxury status (and price tag). Does this mean we need to all sign up for TikTok? HARMAN is already engaging ways to attract and connect to Zoomers and if I were you, I would consider TikTok as a viable media option soon.
Besides building TRUST with the Zoomers we also need to understand their Drivers and Expectations from us. This generation of consumers is going to be less loyal to brands and more loyal to companies that are more transparent, that involve them in the design or personalization of a product and support social causes that they believe in.
What else matters to these Zoomers and how can you change your business or your showroom to be more relevant to them?
Zoomers value experiences.
Experiences and how to create them in your space will help you attract these consumers. Consider the ways Zoomers will access and experience your brand. How can you ensure that every touchpoint will matter to them?
Zoomers enjoy privileged access.
All luxury consumers value the exclusivity of their purchase. But Gen Z not only wants to consume high-quality products – they want to see it before their peers. That’s why brands are doing more Livestream marketing events. Livestream is the ultimate in exclusive content. Even if the event is recorded, only those live viewers were able to interact in real time with the content.
Zoomers choose brands that reflect who they are and what they stand for.
We need to make the purchasing experience of our products feel like a personal characteristic for these customers. This will inspire loyalty. They don’t only want to envision sitting in a JBL Synthesis home cinema, they also want the JBL Synthesis brand to embody their values, too.
Sustainability is one such value that this generation of consumer is very focused on. First Insight stated that 73% of Zoomers were willing to pay more for sustainable products. We need to relate to this generation that our products are built to a much higher standard and that means they could be passed on to the next generation. That is the essence of sustainability. Our products will not be filling up landfills.
Zoomers respect authenticity.
This generation will quickly call out a brand if they think that they are not being authentic to their core values and strengths. So, as we change the way we market to these consumers we cannot deviate from our brands’ DNA. This point always comes up in our product development meetings.