Generation Z — those age 10 to 25 — are the most tech-savvy, web-oriented and connected group of consumers ever. They are increasingly driving consumer decisions and trends, and businesses are taking notice. Companies are constantly looking for ways to use technology to tap into Gen Z’s interests and appeal to them.
Many of these trends are already becoming apparent. Gaming and eSports, for instance, are rapidly gaining traction among Gen Zers, not only as a way to have fun and enjoy entertainment but to interact with others and even make money. Companies are turning to gamification — the use of game-like mechanics to engage users — to take advantage of this trend.
Another way innovators are using technology to appeal to Gen Z is through interactive content. Recent research highlights that 90% of Gen Z uses apps with interactive live video. Chat-based experiences, too, are becoming more popular.
To actually implement these kinds of interactive experiences, businesses are making use of tools like machine learning (ML) and augmented reality (AR).
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ML creates competitive advantages
The past few years have seen explosive improvements in ML technology. With Gen Z acting as the “early adopters” of technology, companies looking to make their mark on the younger generations must capitalize on this.
OpenAI has led advancements in natural language and image processing, virtually monopolizing the tech media landscape with its recent releases of ChatGPT.
OpenAI isn’t the only lab pushing innovation, and businesses are turning to AutoML platforms from Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others to develop their own models. Research shows that businesses using AI and ML are outperforming their peers and creating competitive advantages.
One business leveraging this ML technology is stock photography and video platform ShutterStock. By using DALL-E 2, users will be able to generate their own images and videos, turning their concept briefs into stunning visuals. Instead of going out and hiring a team of graphic designers, users will now be able to create visuals on their own, with the help of the AI.
Another example comes from Notion. The note-taking software is now leveraging ML to make its service more intuitive and helpful, allowing users to generate content faster, more accurately, and with fewer errors.
These AI use-cases are just scratching the surface, and leading investors posit that AI may soon supplant therapists, game makers and even companions for the lonely. It won’t be Baby Boomers or other older generations that lead this charge, but rather Gen Z, who are already comfortable with the technology and excited to explore new possibilities.
AR enhances digital experiences
From Snapchat filters to Apple’s ARKit, augmented reality (AR) is also becoming increasingly popular among Gen Z. With AR, users can interact with a digital environment in a way they can’t do with traditional media.
This has led to businesses using AR to create new interactive experiences that appeal to Gen Z. One example is the beauty industry, where companies are using AR to let customers try on makeup before buying it.
Gen Z is also driving the rise of the metaverse — a shared digital universe where people can create and interact in digital environments — through increased use of VR, AR and gaming.
Businesses are already leveraging the metaverse and creating their own virtual stores and events. For example, IKEA is creating virtual stores where customers can browse their products, and Nike is creating virtual worlds to showcase their products.
Companies that fail to keep up with the rapidly changing technology landscape are at risk of losing out to those that do. Those looking to capture the attention of Gen Z need to stay on top of the latest technology and trends and consider how they can use them to their advantage. By doing so, businesses can create experiences that are interactive, engaging and tailored to Gen Z’s interests.
Eugene Lisovskiy is cofounder and CEO of Level Up.
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