They’re digital and social natives. The care about the environment. They want higher-end amenities, but they crave value, too. And by next year, they’ll represent 40 percent of all consumers.
Meet Generation Z.
Born between roughly 1995 and the early 2000s, members of Gen Z are graduating from high school and college, making their own money, and looking to rent their first apartments on their own.
While millennials transition from renting apartments to buying their own homes, the multifamily industry should be prepared to satisfy the demands of Gen Z, and it all starts with technology.
Members of this generation are the first to be born into a world with smartphones, social media and high-speed internet, and this impacts how they interact with and view the world. As a result, they have shorter attention spans — eight seconds, on average — and they won’t use a website or app if it’s too slow to load. They’re savvy when it comes to online research, and they approach social media a little differently, too, preferring platforms that display photos and videos for 24 hours, like Snapchat and Instagram stories rather than Facebook.
Almost 60 percent of Gen Zers have purchased something that they first saw on social media, so apartment marketers should meet them where they are and create compelling apartment marketing messaging on the platforms they use. Don’t overlook the power of micro-influencers, either.
Generation Z doesn’t really want to talk on the phone, so apartment communities should offer ways for them to get in touch via text or a mobile-friendly medium like Respage’s Chatbot. Make it easy for prospective renters to apply online and, not only that, make sure the turnaround time is quick.
Bringing your entire resident relations sphere to a digital format will appeal to Gen Zers (in addition to millennials and beyond.) Think online rental payments, maintenance requests, community-wide news and virtual tours, and make sure it’s mobile-friendly, too.
Luxury and Eco-Friendliness
As a result in upgraded student housing in recent years, members of Gen Z will be looking to maintain the amenities they enjoyed in college, like indoor rock climbing walls, upgraded fitness centers and yoga rooms. But more importantly, they believe their generation can change the world, and so green-focused touches will go a long way — energy-efficient appliances, bicycle storage and walkable locations. Apartment communities can also take a pro-recycling and pro-composting stance, and even consider going paperless.
While millennials entered the workforce during the Great Recession, Gen Zers watched their parents struggle with the effects of the economic downturn. So, they’re more frugal and mindful of financial issues, and affordability trumps the high-end apartment finishes that millennials have searched for.
Rental rates that allow them to save for the future are ideal, as are apartment leases that are longer than the traditional 12-month term. Apartment leases ranging from 18 to 24 months will help Gen Z feel more financially stable because they’ll know what their rent will be for more than a year into the future and don’t have to worry about the next move.
How will you be shifting your apartment marketing plan to reach Gen Z renters?