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What Every Business Must Know About the Centennials

Watch out, Millenials, there’s a new group of kids in town. Whether you call them Generation Z or the Centennials, the generation born after the Millennials is now age 13 to 18. If you think that doesn’t matter because they don’t have much spending power (yet), think again. The Centennials already account for nearly one-fourth of the population and by 2020, they are projected to make up 40 percent, according to a new study by PowerReviews.

Here are some things you need to know about this market from the Centennial Shopper Study.

Think fast! You don’t have a lot of time to make an impression on Centennials. Weaned on multitasking, their average attention span is just eight seconds. Since this group has never known a world without technology as a part of daily life, using tools such as online advertising, mobile marketing and video marketing is essential to pique their interest.

For youngsters, Centennials are surprisingly stingy. They grew up during the Great Recession, which has left an enduring mark on their spending habits. Two-thirds would rather save their money than make impulse buys. When parting with their hard-earned money, almost three-fourths of Centennials say they do a lot of research and read product reviews before making a purchase. Specifically, 64% read at least four reviews before making a purchase, while one-third say online reviews are more important than brand names or free shipping.

More than any other age group, Centennials have high expectations for engaging with your business. They want to be able to ask questions and get answers before they buy. One-third say they won’t buy a product unless they can ask questions about it first, while nearly eight out of 10 say that if they can’t ask questions on a company’s product page, they’ll visit another retailer’s website instead.

As you might expect, Centennials do most of their pre-purchasing product research and browsing online. More than half (52 percent) browse on a laptop or desktop computer; 37 percent do so on their smartphones and just 6 percent visit a physical store to window shop.

How can your business best get Centennials’ attention? The report suggests these tactics:

Reviews matter. Make sure plenty of reviews exist about your business and/or your products. Get listed on popular review and ratings sites and, if possible, share reviews on your own website, or at least link to them from your website.

Focus on quality. Surprisingly, low prices aren’t a key issue for Centennials. They’d rather spend more money on a quality product, so make sure that your marketing emphasizes quality rather than cost.

Share the details. Offer lots of information about each product on your website. This includes multiple photos, videos if relevant, detailed descriptions, sizing information, dimensions and more.

Be ready to engage. Even if you offer tons of information, it still may not be enough! Use online chat to quickly respond to Centennials’ questions. Go even further by reaching out to customers who post reviews — Centennials love to be asked their opinions, but a whopping 89 percent say they’ve never been contacted by any company after leaving a review.

Make it mobile. It goes almost goes without saying, but I’m still going to say it: make sure your website is mobile friendly if you want to have any hope of capturing Centennials’ dollars.