Africa’s population is a youthful one. According to the UN, approximately 2.2 billion people could form the world’s population by 2050, with more than 50% of that growth occurring in Africa. Zimbabwe is no exception to the rule, with a growing population comprising mainly of youth. Currently, the median age in Zimbabwe is 19.1 years. This age group, made up of what are known as Generation Z, are already entering the workforce. Many brands are still trying to wrap their heads around millennial consumers, but those in that age group are already in their mid-twenties and thirties. This creates an urgent need to understand the consumer of the future, who is younger than that.

Consumer tastes are changing rapidly, and buying patterns differ according to different demographics including age. When looking at the preferences of Generation Z and Generation Alpha (who are the children of millennials) for example, there is evidence that these groups tend to focus more on what a brand stands for, and are more likely to support smaller, niche and customized offerings. They prefer this to major brands pumping out mass- produced merchandise or cookie-cutter services. This insight already shows that businesses that want to survive in the future need to evolve their approach to cater to this younger consumer and their different mentality.

A business is only “future-proof” when it knows how to connect with the youth, who are the next generation of leaders, the next parents, the next entrepreneurs, the next athletes. In order to be future-oriented and support “The Next”, HDI Youth Consultancy is entrenched in youth culture and keeps its ear to the ground in order to keep up with the speed of culture. For the inaugural Generation Next study in Zimbabwe conducted amongst local youth and regarding local brands, HDI has partnered with AMH, who share a common belief in evolving to cater to the youth. Sapi Bachi, MD of HDI Youth Consultancy Zimbabwe confirmed that Generation Next 2018 is taking place in partnership with The Standard, with whom HDI is excited to share a common vision. “Zimbabwe will look radically different in the next 2-3 years. We believe they youth are shaping future dialogue, and changing and informing media consumption habits. They already have a voice in the brands that are consumed within the home,” she emphasized. Research for The Standard Generation Next 2018 is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, and will offer corporates priceless insights into youth lifestyle. In conducting its research, HDI categorises its audience into four groups: kids, tweens, teens and young adults- from the age of 3 up to the age of 26.

Thandi Ngwenya, AMH Chief Marketing Officer, shared why youth are central to AMH’s vision. “We pride ourselves in always being at the forefront of new innovations in the publishing industry. We understand that increasingly, more eyeballs are moving from print to electronic, and from static sources to electronic,” she shared. “The way people consume media continues to evolve, and at the forefront of that revolution are the young people. As the biggest consumers of media, the youth also have an avaricious appetite for what is new, trending and cool. They are the audience that we want to engage, communicate with and entertain. Hence we have expanded our platforms to include not just the traditional print media, but also classic web, social media, video and radio. By creating content that creates memorable moments, we intend to keep our young audiences coming back for more as they grow with us into the future,” Ngwenya revealed.

For a business to be able to compete in the future, meeting young people in their need space is key. Few brands do this well, but those that do are winning. Brands need to learn how to identify the human truths that are relevant to the youth market, and drill down to their deepest desires. This allows a brand to meet an actual need, and to create relevant products and services. The Standard Generation Next 2018 on 16th November 2018 will shed light on insights gained during ongoing research within the youth market. Sponsorship packages are also available for brands to get involved with revolutionizing the business landscape for a deeper youth focus.