Gen Z: Digital Natives in the Physical World

In a world inundated with digital experiences and online shopping, Generation Z, affectionately referred to as “Zoomers”, is emerging as a peer group that particularly cherishes physical, tangible experiences and products

Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z has grown up in the digital age but is increasingly drawn to real-world goods and face-to-face interactions. A highly desirable but elusive audience for many advertisers, traditional media channels often struggle to reach and connect with them. But new multi-faceted research from Posterscope clearly demonstrates that Out of Home (OOH) advertising, in synergy with online media, presents a potent means of reaching and resonating with this audience by catering for their distinct preferences.

In collaboration with Appinio, Posterscope conducted a quantitative study among 1,000 UK respondents aged 18- to 65-year-olds to identify and better understand the current lifestyle and media preferences of different age groups, but with a particular focus on Gen Z, and especially their affinity for physical experiences and tangible products. And by dipping into the proprietary Outdoor Consumer Survey (OCS), Posterscope have been able to add more layers of insight into Gen Z’s advertising preferences and, in particular, how they engage with OOH advertising.


A vinyl revival

Despite the omnipresence of digital streaming platforms, Gen Z is witnessing a resurgence of interest in tangible formats like vinyl records. Astonishingly, 36% of Gen Z individuals express a preference for vinyl over digital streaming. This preference rockets to a substantial 45% among Gen Z males.


A return to local and in-person

Gen Z is at the forefront of a revival in local and in-person shopping. An impressive 65% of Gen Z individuals favour physical shopping over the convenience of online alternatives. This preference underscores their desire to connect with their communities and experience products firsthand.

Media consumption:

Balancing the digital diet

While social media remains an integral part of their lives, Gen Z is actively seeking ways to reduce their digital consumption. Over 50% of Gen Z individuals are actively exploring avenues to limit screen time, opting for activities such as reading books, spending time outdoors, or enjoying digital-free date nights.

As shopping habits show younger audiences are demonstrably seeking physical experiences and embracing local shopping, it’s therefore logical to surmise that OOH advertising, complemented by ever-present digital (especially social) media could and is becoming an increasingly effective strategy to connect with this sought after demographic.

So how can advertisers use Out of Home IRL (as the kids say…) to reach this audience:

Interactive OOH displays: Catching their eye

Gen Z exhibits a higher propensity to notice and interact with interactive OOH posters. An impressive 62% express their willingness to engage with such displays, making OOH advertising an effective means to capture their attention and prompt action.

Real-time engagement: Driving action

Engagement with interactive OOH by this audience often translates into tangible outcomes. More than a third (38%) of Gen Z individuals who engage with interactive OOH proceed to make a purchase, while nearly half (49%) choose to follow the brand. This signifies that many under 30s are not merely receptive but also highly responsive to OOH advertising.

Bridging the digital-physical gap: A seamless connection

OOH advertising seamlessly bridges the divide between the digital and physical realms for Gen Z. By offering immersive experiences, interactive elements, and real-time promotions, OOH campaigns can drive this audience towards physical stores and encourage local shopping.

Social media integration: Sharing experiences

OOH advertising strategies can incorporate elements of social media, prompting Gen Z to share their experiences online. This integration fosters a sense of community and amplifies brand messages, transforming this group into active participants in the brand’s narrative.

Authentic narratives: Honesty wins

Gen Z places a premium on authenticity and meaningful brand stories. OOH advertising provides a demonstrably trusted platform for conveying a brand’s history, mission, and values, nurturing a genuine connection with this audience.

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