Gen Z, the youngest group of consumers in the market, appear to be the hardest to please. A new survey from Qualtrics XM Institute indicates that Gen Z are far less satisfied with their brand interactions than are their older counterparts. 

When asked how they felt after a recent interaction with a brand or organization (on a 7-point scale of upset to delighted) Gen Z gave the lowest positive scores (rating of 6 or 7) of any age group. While consumers across all age groups are most likely to be upset about their interactions with Federal Agencies — with only one-third giving them a positive rating, — only 13% of Gen Z gave these organizations a positive rating. 

This trend continues when it comes to interactions with brands in industries such as Investment Firms (54% of respondents overall giving a positive ranking vs. 14% of Gen Z), Airlines (40% vs. 16%) and Car Rentals (39% vs 19%). 

Gen Z is less delighted than others by even their favorite industries. While Gen Z views industries such as Retail (47%), Fast Food (45%), and Grocery (44%) in the most positive light, consumers in general are still more delighted by these industries (60%, 59% and 61%, respectively). The only industry for which Gen Z is nearly as satisfied as the general public is social media (55% vs. 56%).

On the other end of the spectrum, Baby Boomers gave the highest scores of all age groups, with Investment Firms (72%), Grocery (72%), Retail (72%) and Streaming Media (69%) receiving the highest positive emotion ratings from this generation. 

Fortunately, Gen Z can be forgiving if they see efforts are being made to improve. Some 8 in 10 say they are likely to support a brand that makes changes based on customer feedback. Per Qualtrics, Gen Zers are also more likely to be familiar with the values of the brands whose products they purchase, and are more likely to gravitate towards brands they feel are doing enough to address societal and environmental issues. This supports earlier research showing that more than half of Gen Z prefer to purchase from sustainable brands, while three-quarters say a CEO’s reaction to social issues such as Black Lives Matter will influence their decision to purchase from a brand.  

Even though one-third of Gen Z say they are ready to increase their spending as pandemic safety protocols ease, they are more likely than older generations to stop purchasing from a brand with insufficient COVID safety measures (30% of Gen Z vs. 14% of Baby Boomers), and are more likely than Baby Boomers to purchase from brands with safety measures such as masking or curbside pickup (42% vs. 14%). 

Read the full report here

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 9,000 US consumers asked about their experiences with 367 brands across 23 industries as well as a separate survey of more than 2,000 US adults (18+) who were asked about customer and brand experience.

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