Gen Z Outdoor Brand Loyalty - Trends
Gen Z is motivated by several trends that distinguish their brand loyalty in the field of outdoor recreation-based products from previous generations, including the need for image creation, price value, and shared social values. The success of pairing brand loyalty with increased sales varies depending on the particular campaign implemented.
Trend 1: Gen Z is driven by image creation
- Graduate students at Lund's Department of Business Administration interviewed two companies, one of which is an outdoor lifestyle brand, to conclude that Gen Z is specifically motivated toward brand loyalty by image creation, or how they define themselves through the image they project.
- The researchers interviewed managers from two companies to make their assessment. A manager in Company 1, the outdoor lifestyle brand, identified influence marketing through social media as being the biggest factor in retaining Z's loyalty.
- Staying trendy was identified by Company 1 as vital to maintaining the brand's own image-based attraction to youth.
- Image creation is a trend further demonstrated by the increasing number of Gen Z users on Instagram, a platform specifically dedicated to visual relationships. In 2016, 59 percent of the 18-29 year old demographic used Instagram; in 2019, it was 71 percent.
- Outdoor Voices successfully reaches Gen Z through social media by aiming at the concept of image creation. Its message is "human, not superhuman," spread throughout 3,100+ Instagram posts.
Trend 2: Gen Z is motivated by price value
- A Business Insider survey reveals that price is the biggest factor in where Generation Z shops. 60 percent of the 1,884 surveyed chose price, while the next highest factor was shared values at 18 percent.
- Gen Z is buying at thrift stores now more than ever. From 2017 to 2019, secondhand sales to Gen Z increased by 46 percent.
- Brands that have added value are attracting Gen Z more. Patagonia, a company specializing in outdoor-activity-related clothing, is considered to be more expensive upfront, but it offers a free repair service, unlimited returns on unworn clothing, and store credit for used clothing that is brought in.
Trend 3: Gen Z is motivated by shared social values
- Brands that align with Gen Z's self-perception and their shared values are more likely to retain their support. Dick's 2018 move to ban AR-15s in their stores was met with outcry from supporters on both sides. With 27 percent of Gen Z owning a gun according to a 2017 Pew survey (compared to half of the silent generation of the same age), most supported the change.
- Support and brand loyalty does not always equate to better sales, as in the case for the CEO's decision at Dick's (which he asserts was not a business decision but a social one).
- Patagonia successfully targets Gen Z's anti-consumerism mindset with its social values-focused ad campaigns such as "Don't Buy This Jacket," and, as a result, the company generated $1 billion in revenue last year.