Your marketing strategy for attracting multiple generations to your apartment community may have served you well. However, it's not likely to work as well with Generation Z. Who is Gen Z? Pew Research identifies this generation as people born after 1996. With more than 24 million adults identifying as Gen Z, it's an audience you want to reach.
While they're similar to the Millennial generation that comes before them, they have a few key differences. Gen Z is the most diverse generation and likely to be the best-educated generation. They're also the digital natives. By the time they were born, smartphones and small devices were prevalent.
Considering the oldest members of this generation have turned 23, they're on the hunt for apartments now or soon. They're also the largest generation as they make up one-third of the global population.
They already have a buying power of more than $140B, an indirect spending influence on more than $300B, and represent 40 percent of all consumers per a Barkley report. They see and do a few things differently than earlier generations. Considering the kind of buying power they have, it's important to learn about them to ensure you capture them when they look for an apartment.
At 52 percent, Caucasians are barely the majority in this generation. One-quarter of Gen Z identifies as Hispanic and 14 percent as Black.
You may have seen and heard more about the importance of gender pronouns. Many folks post their preferred pronouns in their online bios. Gen Z will most likely know someone who prefers a gender-neutral pronoun.
They want to see more options than male and female on online forms and profiles. If your process asks about gender preferences, ensure that you cover all your bases.
Those who have at least one parent who has a college degree are more likely to obtain at least a bachelor's degree. Almost half of them have at least one college-educated parent. Compared to that, only 33 percent of the Millennials had one parent with a college degree.
An important thing to note is that this generation is less likely to have a job than previous generations. It's most likely because more of them are pursuing higher education.
Because they tend to be more academic-minded, they also tend to be more risk-averse with their finances and more conservative about spending. That's forcing many apartment properties to change up their amenities.
Still, Gen Z is the first to be born into the digital era, they're the most tech-savvy and mobile-first generation. As digital natives, they clearly have a great need for technology in their lives.
Naturally, they want technology built-in wherever they call home. "Adapting Amenities: The Must-Have Amenities for Gen Z Renters" says Gen Z wants amenities related to tech-driven self-service. As such, the apartment searching process needs to be completely virtual.
This has never been truer since the advent of the pandemic. Every part of the apartment process needs to be digitized including the self-guided and virtual tours, application processes, and leasing paperwork.
When they find an apartment, they want to be able to pick up any delivered packages any time of the day or night. They have their own timetable for getting things done. They do not want to wait for the office to open.
This generation likes to get physical as fitness is important to them. That means they expect onsite fitness options. They also appreciate nearby running and biking trails. This generation depends less on cars and more on walking, biking, or public transportation. It helps if they have an easy way to store their bikes. This group values the ability to walk everywhere that has what they need.
Considering social media plays a large part in many of their lives, they value communal spaces that are photo worthy. They want to share photos on social media. While they tend to spend less time in their apartments than other generations at least before the pre-pandemic, that may change because of the crisis.
Some have moved their office to their homes because of the pandemic. It's likely to continue for many of them after the crisis. As digital natives, it's no surprise that high-speed internet access and reliable cell service are critical items for this group. The pandemic further reinforced the need for this.
One factor that's coming out of the pandemic is food delivery. They want to know what food and grocery delivery services operate in the apartment community’s area. The more options available, the better. Again, with their need to do more from home, they want to have access to as much as possible without leaving the apartment or going further than walking distance.
This generation cares about sustainability according to "For Gen Z, Sustainability Is the New Amenities Race." The environment tends to top their list of priorities when asked what issues should be a priority for Congress. For apartment living, this would be recycling, composting, high-efficiency and Energy Star appliances, and onsite renewable energy.
All that said, here are the top three ways for apartment properties to reach Gen Z.
First and foremost, opt for high-quality internet and Wi-Fi networks. Generation Z wants to always be connected and have a backup plan for when the internet goes down. The pandemic makes it more critical than ever to maximize connectivity. Many people found themselves working from home. It's likely to stay that way for a lot of workers.
Companies that decide to make remote working permanent will change where people live. Employees living in San Francisco, an area with a high cost of living, may move to affordable locales. Stand ready for new residents by providing them with all the technology they need.
It may be worth creating coworking spaces on your property. These could be small rooms to give residents a place to have meetings or get out of their apartment for a little bit. Take care in creating large spaces because those can be wasted if one person rents the room for themselves. Besides, it discourages social distancing and safety.
Another apartment community trend Gen Z also likes are apartments with smart home technologies. These could be smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lighting, and community management.
Use social media marketing channels like Instagram, Tik Tok, and whatever is the latest to attract the generation. To state the obvious, they're more likely to listen to their peers than companies. Thus, create an online community for your apartment property. Find ways for residents to generate content talking about the property.
Remember the suggestion to create Instagram-worthy communal areas? This is where it comes in handy. Create spaces within your community that compel residents to want to take selfies. They'll post them and the location. Your apartment social media account can reshare the user-generated content. It's similar to posting testimonials where you share a person's post and viewers know it's not a made-up testimonial.
In creating an online community, you give residents a way to get to know each other. As the pandemic subsides, you can hold communal events and activities again. This could be yoga classes, game nights, and trivia nights. When your tenants befriend each other, they'll be more likely to renew their lease. Community is the new amenity.
Since people spend more time at home, security has become a higher priority for renters. They want to live somewhere they feel safe and comfortable. Once social distancing ends, many may continue to stay home more often as their employers switch to remote working or maybe a hybrid.
One option for affordable security is remote video surveillance. This puts eyes on your entire apartment property including the parking garage, all entrances and exits, and the entire perimeter. Besides, a survey of renters from Assurant reveals that over half will pay more for security features.
When residents see the security you put in place, they feel like you care about them and their safety. When that happens, they are more likely to renew their leases. The best gift for an apartment community is a happy resident who sticks around for a long time. The longer they stay, the less likely your bottom-line is affected by the costs associated with apartment turnover.
Standing out from other apartment properties requires offering the right amenities including apartment security. Video surveillance helps provide a fast security ROI.
What's interesting is that many of Gen Z's requirements go hand-in-hand with the latest apartment property trends including:
If you've already been working on those trends, you're ahead of the game in reaching Gen Z. Apartment property management needs to do what it can to attract and retain its resident.
Want to learn more about apartment security? Download your free copy of Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building. This guide explores how to optimize apartment building security while protecting your resident and employees. It'll also walk you through the four lines of defense for maximizing apartment security. Finally, you'll know how to choose the right security service without overpaying. Want to learn more? Contact us.