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Gen Z Parents Are Challenging the Conventions of Parenting

A newly released report by Culture Bureau, a Los Angeles-based consumer behavior, foresight and cultural intelligence consultancy, looks at how Gen Z parents have their own unique consumer behaviors and preferences. On behalf of Culture Bureau, Dig Insights surveyed more than 5,300 Millennial and Gen Z parents across the U.S. and Canada ages 20 to 40 and 1,000 people without kids ages 20 to 27. 

According to the study, there are nearly one in 10 parents in the U.S. who are Gen Z and nearly one in five births annually are to Gen Z mothers. And most notably, Gen Z will make up a majority of people who will be first-time parents.

The report’s authors categorized the survey into five major classifications that define the cohort: radical traditionalists; going for broke; brands beware; fund it, don’t fake it, and finding fairy godmother figures. 

Gen Z parents are old-fashioned in their dreams for the future. Sixty-five percent of Gen Z parents surveyed said that small towns are the best place to raise their children over a big city and 54 percent of Gen Z respondents noted that home ownership is a sign of a good parent. During the same stage of life, Gen Z is richer than Millennials and Boomers; there are currently 6,000 Gen Z executives and 1,000 Gen Z politicians.

Despite being richer, Gen Z parents are still stressed about money but will still purchase what they see as the best. Other top sources of stress include children’s education and health. The report’s authors suggest that Gen Z parents’ stress about money can be connected to their anxiety about the state of the world, even moreso than the job market or housing anxiety.  

Even though money is a stressor, Gen Z parents refuse to compromise on their purchases. Fifty-eight percent of Gen Z parents agreed with the statement, “I buy brands I think are best and don’t worry much about price” versus 43 percent of Millennial parents. Moreover, 52 percent of Gen Z parents reported they “will pay more for brands that take a political or social stand [they] agree with” as compared to 35 percent of Millennial parents. 

Brand loyalty amongst Gen Z remains a fickle problem brands have yet to solve; 40 percent of Gen Z parents noted that they will pay more and try a new product if they believe it’s better than what’s currently out in the market.

As high-earning Gen Z parents, 44 percent of respondents reported that “store brands are just as good as brand names.” The top categories for Gen Z purchasing store brands include food (70 percent), housecleaning (67 percent), personal care (65 percent) and vitamins and medicine (65 percent). These numbers jump for high-earners making more than $100,000: 79 percent buy store-brand house cleaning supplies, 76 percent buy store-brand food, 75 percent buy store-brand personal care and 74 percent buy vitamins and medicine.

Another key demographic consumer sentiment from the report found that Gen Z is looking for brands to be more than superficial allies. Sixty-seven percent of Gen Z parents agreed with the statement “It’s important to know what political and social issues a brand supports before I buy” and 75 percent of Gen Z parents said that brands should “support financially” and not let backlash change their political and social stances.  

With Gen Z parents currently the first and only parents within their friend group, many are now turning to outside help with parenting needs. Gen Z dads said they were twice as likely to rely on social media platform TikTok for their brand and product recommendations for information than Gen Z men who don’t have children. Other top places to get recommendations include Amazon and YouTube.  

The report’s authors said the survey findings of this new generation of parents are challenging conventions and embracing contradictions.  

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