Gen Z has arrived

Move over Millennials… the post millennials are here!

A recent article published by Bloomberg says this is the year that Generation Z becomes the biggest consumer cohort globally, displacing millennials as a top obsession for investors trying to figure out how to cash in on their unique shopping, eating and media habits. While the older lot have entered the workforce recently, the majority are still studying; but boy, do they have the spending power!

Investors have always been interested in young consumers and how their habits might open up new opportunities, but much of the long-held thinking on college kids and tweens—invest in beer stocks or TV networks or junk food—don’t hold up today. Gen Z, roughly between the ages of seven and 22, were born after the internet went mainstream and occupy a world where anything and everything can be delivered to their front door with a swipe of a finger and they grew up on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where the influencer culture has taken hold.

For investors looking to factor Gen Z into their portfolios, here are some broad trends they may want to consider

1. They Can Be Influenced 

That means influencers—celebrities or everyday people with big social media followings who are paid to promote products—can have an outsized impact with this cohort where nearly six out of 10 self-diagnose spending too much time on their phones. 

2. They Have Different Vices

Younger consumers are wary of nasty hangovers and eager to wake up on the weekends feeling fresh so they can get outdoors and capture selfies. In the US and Canada for example, Marijuana is perceived healthier than alcohol. As more states legalize and stressed out, tired Americans look to cannabis compounds to alleviate insomnia and anxiety, or just unwind after a hard week of work.

3. They Don’t Have to Go to Stores

It’s worth noting that the oldest members of Gen Z are barely out of college by most measures, not exactly peak grocery-buying age. Still, they’ve grown up in a world where digital shopping is ubiquitous. Gen Z could be the first generation to truly embrace online grocery shopping.

4. They Choose Their Brand Loyalties Carefully

The rise of Gen Z could be bad news for traditional clothing retailers. Apparel brands looking to connect with younger shoppers have tried embracing edgier brand ambassadors, a departure from the days when consumer companies went to great pains to avoid politics. That’s because Gen Z actually wants corporations to take a stand on issues, with 40 percent saying they’d pay more for a product if they knew the company was promoting gender equality issues and 42 percent for racial justice initiatives.

5. They Eat (Somewhat) Differently

Gen Z consumers are more likely to skip meat than the older U.S. cohorts, the latest dining disruption with big implications for fast-food restaurants and packaged-food giants. 

As Gen Z eventually enters their prime earning years, some of these trends could start to become more concrete and visible.