Generation Z, or Gen Z, is now in the 8 to 23 age range. Do you have someone that age in your family? I do. My niece is 9 years old and acts 13. However, she does fall in this generation of people who were born into technology. From birth, she has grown up with an iPad and soon will most likely have a cell phone. She messages and FaceTimes constantly. She is always in touch, digitally of course, with her friends.
There is one thing she absolutely loves. In fact, she almost begs for. Surprisingly enough, it is physical mail. She is more thrilled with a small package of stickers or a greeting card than she is when I deliver her a big gift. My brother tells me every day she asks if she got any mail. It is almost to the point where we feel bad if we have not sent her anything for a while.
Recently, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a study it did on this generation, titled “Generation Z and the Mail.” It is a comprehensive review of how Gen Z reacts to and perceives the mail. Gen Z is now 20% of the U.S. population, and they are spending a whopping $143 billion in purchases annually, which is expected to grow as they come of age to enter the workforce. This generation reported an emotional connection to the receipt of a physical mail piece. They experience far more emotion than receiving a text, email or a video call. The study has a lot of key information that can be used to learn how to market to this age group.
One topic I found interesting in the report relates to quick response (QR) codes and augmented reality (AR). Each of these enhancements have been around for a while now. The mailing industry knows that the USPS has tried to encourage mailers to increase mailing engagement by adding these items to their mail pieces. They have even included these items in the yearly promotions published for mailers to receive discounts when used. In one of the OIG’s strategies for engagement sections, they talk about how this generation will probably be the most likely to engage in extra enhancements like QR codes applied to their parcel or mail deliveries. The OIG also states that it needs to do more research into how items like QR codes or AR could enhance this age groups experience and buying habits.
Overall, I find it interesting to see how the postal service is investigating generations. The knowledge of how a particular age group is evolving and showing how to target for certain perceptions is fascinating. I bet some of the information they found valuable for Gen Z will be beneficial to a lot of businesses and maybe even your business. I’d be interested to know how many companies are starting to take this generation more seriously. The study mentioned that Gen Z perceives packages as meaningful and valued. They also saw the postal service as an organization they could trust and one that is environmentally friendly. Both factors are going to be extremely important to the postal service, which is currently struggling with delays and scrutiny