Customer acquisition and CRO

Why do small businesses need to prioritize targeting Gen Z?

sign about small business shopping local
Published on
July 9, 2024
Last updated
July 9, 2024

What this article covers

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to receive the latest blog posts to your inbox every week.


By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy.

In today’s market, every single customer segment represents an opportunity.

Among these, one stands out for its potential to shape the future: Gen Z.

In 2020, Gen Z made up 40% of global consumers. This number is growing – they’re now poised to be the biggest consumer group that has ever existed.

We know. Big stuff.

And whilst you might think young consumers are the most loyal to the biggest and brightest brands, all hope should not be lost for small businesses.

Quite the opposite, in fact.

In this blog, we talk you through why small businesses should be prioritizing Gen Z, and give you a couple of handy tips on how exactly you can win over this generation.

Small businesses are often the lifeblood of local economies

They’re also drivers of innovation – and due to their size, will have loyal customer bases. It might be easy to sit back and relax for some businesses due to this – but particularly for brands that are just starting out and want to make a name for themselves, the hard work starts here.

Small businesses need to show that they’re highly sought after. You might have less cash and resources than your larger competitors, but this isn’t the be all and end all. This is where having a solid marketing strategy comes into play. We can help with that, by the way.

Thanks to the lovely world of the algorithm, anyone can go viral

God bless the TikTok algorithm. It’s now not about how many followers you have – almost anyone can go viral, if the content is right.

For small businesses, TikTok has been a game-changer. By the end of 2024, TikTok is expected to surpass over two billion daily active users. For context, that’s almost a quarter of the entire population of Earth.

The primary user base of this number is Gen Z.

According to our data, 83% of those aged 16-24 use TikTok. With bite-sized content, visual storytelling, and in-app communities, we also saw that trust increases on this app: 30% of Gen Z trust TikTok creators more than creators on other platforms.

Creative, short-form video is taking over the social media landscape

We’ve said it once, we’ll probably say it a thousand more times: young consumers value authenticity.

And there’s nothing as authentic as being able to see a product visualized, tried and tested, and in some cases, reviewed by other users.

Small businesses should leverage this to capture Gen Z spend.

TikTok will allow you to tap into the content that your audience wants to see – and no kind of content is too niche.

Incorporate hashtags that are relevant to your small business. Use the SEO functionality to optimize your content.

And don’t worry if you don’t see results straight away. Community management is a powerful way to build valued customers, so ensure you’re replying to comments, staying reactive and using the algorithm to find out what’s trending in your space.

This approach helps in building a strong brand and ensuring long-term customer satisfaction.

Budget isn’t everything

If you’re worried about not having a huge marketing budget to spend on influencers and the hottest new equipment, don’t panic!

TikTok provides small business owners with a great opportunity here. Gen Z isn’t receptive to perfectly curated content. Instead, sometimes the content with the least spend is the one to go viral.

In the UK, small-business food brand Dohhut has become a popular Gen Z spot. The trick? Stripped back social media marketing.

Their Instagram account has amassed a whopping 93,000 followers. Their content strategy is simple: behind-the-scenes videos, all filmed on an iPhone, and a few shots of their doughnuts being ripped apart to reveal the goodness inside.

Over in the United States, clothing brand Jessakae has gone from a two-person business based in Utah, to a million-dollar brand that offers worldwide shipping. Their social strategy champions inclusivity and positive messaging.

Finally, Fix Chocolatier must be mentioned. The brand is the brainchild of Sarah Hamouda, who launched the business as a side hustle after being inspired by her pregnancy cravings.

After a video of an influencer eating the famous pistachio-filled chocolate went viral, orders soared from single digits to over 500.


Viral pistachio Dubai Chocolate😍

♬ original sound - Kyra mae

The FOMO effect on TikTok is real – Hamouda shared to CNN that she didn’t think “at any point this was going to become global”.

Gen Z wants value for money – but they’re also prepared to spend more if the product is good quality

Young people are living through tough economic times.

97% of Gen Z shared they’re struggling more with the cost-of-living crisis than people think. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re not looking to spend.

They just want more bang for their buck.

45% of Gen Z look for a discount every single time they make a purchase. A massive 83% of students say that if a retailer offers a discount, they’re more likely to shop there.

For small businesses, offering a discount is a surefire way to cash in on Gen Z spending.

However, we also understand that small businesses may face larger costs than their bigger competitors

When you aren’t mass-producing products or services, the costs can stack up.

As a result, products that small businesses offer are likely to be more expensive than their big corporation competitors.

Gen Z recognizes this – and (good news), they’re happy to pay more of a premium if they know the quality of the product is good.

In fact, 66% of Gen Z say that poor product quality is a dealbreaker. Competitive advantages, such as superior quality, can influence their buying decisions.

Gen Z are value-led consumers

Sustainability is a hot topic for today’s young consumers. This should be a big selling point if you’re a business looking to capture Gen Z spend.

As noted, products from smaller brands aren’t mass-produced.

As a result, they’ll likely be more sustainable and will be supported by ethical working practices. 77% of Gen Z would shop with a brand who prioritizes sustainability – so if this is you, it’s time to shout about it!

Capturing Gen Z early on will have young consumers returning for life

Consumers in their late teens and early 20s are a valuable target market for small businesses.

They’re making purchasing decisions now that could affect their brand loyalty for years to come.

If you can win over a student early on, with an exclusive marketing promotion, you could have them as a customer for decades.

In fact, 85% of students say that the experience they have with a brand during their time at university is likely to influence where they shop or what they buy in the future.

Are you a small business looking to grow your sales fivefold?

We don’t just work with big businesses – we can help your small business attract, convert, and retain potential customers.

Turn your visitors into loyal customers with gated discounts – effortlessly verify and convert ready-to-purchase shoppers with targeted offers built just for them. Get in touch with an expert today to enhance your marketing plan and boost your bottom line.

These important factors will not only improve customer satisfaction but also ensure your small business thrives in the long term.

Whether through word of mouth or a well-strategized email marketing campaign, understanding your target audience and conducting thorough market research will be crucial to solidifying your place in the market.

Get in touch today to learn more about pricing.

3,500+ brands trust Pion

Ready to see how Pion can supercharge your sales targets?