Get Ready For Generation Z

This is the tenth installment of a special series, presented by the National Hardware Show, exploring key trends and developments driving the growth of housewares and home goods in the home improvement retail business.

While home improvement marketers, manufacturers and retailers are fixated on attracting Millennial consumers, they might want to start prepping for the next generation: Generation Z, which already holds more than $40 billion in spending power and will comprise 40% of all consumers by 2020.

Marketing to Gen Z— some 70 million U.S. residents born in or after 1996— requires stepping away from a one-size-fits all approach to focus on content tailored for each burgeoning segment of arguably the most culturally and ethnically diverse group in history.

Generation Z is the first truly digitally native generation, born into a world of instant access, streaming content and global communication with no memory of what it was like without it. A tight relationship with information and technology has shaped who they are, what they want and how they shop for it.

Like their predecessor, Gen Z wants information straightforward, clear, original and honest. This newest generation tunes out fluff and gimmicks.

With its size and diversity, Gen Z rejects shotgun marketing and demands authenticity from retailers and vendors. Retailers will be tasked to zero in on niche audiences within the generation, like-minded groups to which a brand or retailer can make a long-term commitment that connects elements important to each group into a personally captivating stories.

Status is everything for Generation Z. Manufacturers and retailers, if they are to get Gen Z’ers to associate with their products, have the opportunity to collaborate on “cool” experiences that are timely, culturally relevant and relatable to the generation. And those experiences— which comprise valuable social currency— must be shareable.

Despite the defining nuances of Gen Z, they align with the demands of previous generations. Members of Generation Z influence a significant amount of household purchases, according to results of a recent survey of 2,926 U.S. adults 18 or older for the National Retail Federation.

According to the NRF report, 87% of parents say their children influence at least some aspect of their purchases, either for household items or for themselves.

The NRF report said parents involve their children for a variety of reasons: the children will be using the item (57%), their opinion matters to their parents (57% ), and to teach decision making (56%). The most common time parents involve their children is at the front end of a purchase— when researching features and product reviews and when price checking or looking up product availability.

The report found that Gen Z influences different aspects of shopping, including brands parents consider (52%), product features that are important (48%) and retailers that are considered (41%).

“Shopping is a great way for parents to bond with their children, and parents want retailers to make it even easier to involve their children,” said Mark Mathews, vp/research development and industry analysis, NRF. “As the industry continues to evolve, retailers have a huge opportunity to expand all-inclusive family shopping.”


The National Hardware Show, set for May 5-7, 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center is the leading B2B marketplace serving the growing home improvement retail channel. The Show presents a comprehensive range of innovative new products in hardware, tools, building, homewares, paint, smart home, outdoor living, pet and more.