✍️ WHAT CAUGHT OUR EYES
Gen Z Behaviors & The Consumer Renaissance - Rex Woodbury from Index Ventures
We tend to overestimate technological change and underestimate social change.
Our bias to technological change resonates in the famous Peter Thiel quote “We wanted flying cars, and instead we got 140 characters.”
This decade will see major innovations— AI, VR, autonomous vehicles. But just as significant will be behavior changes.
There are nearly 3bn Gen Zs alive today (defined as those born 1995-2010). The $143bn in spending power that they wield is set to increase 70% over the next five years.
5 broad Gen Z characteristics changing how people & technology interact:
Community-Centric & Radically Inclusive: For previous generations, consumption was about possession/status. For Gen Zs, consumption is about buying access to a community. This shows up in Discord’s success: nearly every Gen Z brand or creator has a dedicated Discord server. These servers have become living nuclei for communities. A related tenet to community is radical inclusivity. 48% of Gen Zs - compared to 38% of Millennials—say they value brands that don’t classify items as male or female.
Playful, Joyful, & Serendipitous: Rise of the “Gen Z aesthetic” - an emphasis on quirky, bright colors on the websites of Gen Z-focused brands like Thousand Fell, Studs, Starface. This aesthetic reflects Gen Z’s fun, lively nature, which companies are leaning into. Established companies are adapting their marketing to fit this: Square’s Cash App is even embracing drop culture:
Deeply Creative: In a 2005 interview with Wired, Barry Diller, ex-CEO of Paramount weighed in on the future of media. “There is not that much talent in the world.” You’d be hard-pressed to find a statement that proved more wrong. It turned out that there was a lot of talent in the world, and all it took was internet platforms obfuscating the traditional media gatekeepers. While TikTok gets the most attention for reinventing content consumption, the app was equally groundbreaking on the content creation side. Anyone could indeed create a video on YouTube, but there were still barriers to creation (money for expensive equipment and knowledge to use tools like Adobe Premiere). TikTok leveled the playing field. While only about 1 in 1,000 YouTube users also post to the site, 83% of TikTok users have posted content.
Scrappy & Entrepreneurial: One recent study found that 54% of Gen Zs want to create their own company. Young people today are coming of age alongside new platforms that allow more self-directed, flexible work. Work will continue to disaggregate: freelance workers will increase from 65M in 2020 to 90M in 2028.
Authentic Individuality: The rise of Charli D’Amelio, who recently became the first TikTok creator to amass 100M followers, signals this behavior. No one knows why Charli is so big; there’s nothing particularly special about her. But that in itself is the most likely reason: Charli is your everyday 16-year-old from suburban Connecticut. Her approachability is her selling point. The best brands embrace authenticity. Dunkin’s partnership with Charli has been so successful because her love for Dunkin’ was well-documented before she ever got paid for sponsored content. On the more atomic level, personalized products are thriving as Gen Zs seek individuality. (Personal Haircare: Prose - Personal Skincare: Curology - Personal Commerce: Stich Fix - Personal Training: Future).
Retention has become one of the hottest topics among growth professionals.
Yet, there’s still a problem - there is a lack of understanding on why retention is the priority.
Most people think retention is so crucial simply because it means you lose fewer users than you otherwise would. Though this is true, it misses the critical point.
Retention is the core of your growth model and influences every other input to your model.
Improving retention spurs growth in 4 key ways:
Retention Drives Your Acquisition: various acquisition channels, such as virality and UGC, work when existing users take an action that introduces new users to the product (via inviting friends, sharing, WoM, or creating new content), a larger base of active users leads to better acquisition metrics.
Example: When a retained Pinterest user creates a new pin, Google indexes it. When people search and land on it, this experience introduces new users to Pinterest, and some % of those people sign up. Some % of those registrations become active users who also create new pins, and on it goes.
Retention Drives Monetization: regardless of business model, two critical things happen when retention rate improves: (a) revenue within a given period of time increases as you retain a greater proportion of a cohort, (b) LTV increases as you retain the same portion of a cohort for a longer period of time.
Retention Builds An Acquisition Competitive Advantage: this dynamic is most impactful for companies that rely on paid acquisition as a main channel for growth.
Example: Let's consider two companies - A and B. Company B has a higher LTV, and is, therefore, able to spend more than A on acquisition. Since paid acquisition channels are efficient marketplaces and ad inventory goes to the highest bidder, if Company B has a higher LTV, it can afford a higher CAC. This means it will be able to outbid Company A for the same inventory, effectively pricing Company A out of the channel. Additionally, this can also open up other channels that were too expensive when it had a lower CAC.
Retention Accelerates Payback Period: A lot of teams at the fastest growing companies focus heavily on LTV. The problem with this is that LTV typically is not the limiting factor in growth - the payback period is because the payback period determines how much cash is needed to fuel growth. Since improving retention drives monetization - it also shortens your payback period. If you have a shorter payback period you will be able to reinvest the cash earned sooner in acquisition to kickstart flywheel effects.
The Hidden World of Pricing: Uber, Trulia, Etsy, Superhuman & More
Buy Now, Pay Later Solutions are Going Direct to Consumer
Clubhouse: a "truly social" social network
The Hidden Freemium Advantage
The Sleep Economy - How start-ups aim to tackle sleep deprivation
Will the West Catch Up With China’s Social Commerce?
The Future of a Brand Promise: Values, Action, and Impact
Masterworks: Demystifying & Democratizing Art
👏 WHERE THE MONEY WENT
🇪🇺 Notable EU early stage Consumer rounds :
🇺🇸 Notable US early-stage Consumer rounds :
🔭 Notable later stage Consumer rounds :
🍭 Notable Consumer Exits
🖤 - HEARTCORE
Super happy and proud to have Lovys join the Heartcore family 🖤
Much 🖤 from Heartcore