If the target audience for your products or services is young consumers, then the following data about Generation Z may be the most important marketing information you’ll read.

While word of mouth is a key driver of purchasing decision among all generations, Gen Z — young men and women born from the mid-1990s to the early-2000s, and the group following Millennials— relies more on word of mouth, in both its offline and online forms, than any other generation.

That’s the conclusion of joint reports on these consumers by Convince & Convert Consulting, a social media and content marketing strategy firm, and the Center for Generational Kinetic (respectively, “Chatter Matters: The 2018 Word of Mouth Report” and “The State of Gen X 2018.”) Calling it “the first truly wired generation,” the consultants further note that constant connectivity to their friends, plus a multitude of information sources, give GenZers a plethora of options when making purchasing decisions.

Just how vital word of mouth is to this generation—and how important it is for companies and marketers to understand its members—is illustrated by the following statistics:

  • Eighty-six percent of GenZers read reviews before making a first-time purchase. Reviews are increasingly important for all buyers, but Gen Z consults online opinions more so than any other generation. And its members aren’t satisfied with glancing at one review before making a decision. Sixty-eight percent read two or more reviews;
  • Forty-eight percent of GenZers have made a “second-person” word-of-mouth recommendation—not from personal experience but from a friend’s or family member’s positive review—compared to 41% of Millennials, and 38% of Gen X and Boomers;
  • These younger diners almost never choose a restaurant without checking reviews and social media chatter. Compared to GenXers and Boomers, GenZers and Millennial are 99 percent more likely to use those sources of information;
  • Instagram is the favored source for Generation Z to follow brands, with 48 percent of Gen Z females following brands there compared to 36 percent of Gen Z males;
  • Members of Generation Z trust one another other, but they also trust influencers in their generation who have greater audience, expertise or experience. What’s more nearly half of all GenZers follow more than 10 influencers on social media;
  • Finally, Gen Z trusts ads on YouTube more than ads from any other source, including print, television and social media ads.

If you want to reach and sell to this rising generation, Convince & Convert concludes, a word-of-mouth strategy that takes into account its preferences is an absolute must.