As digital natives become a more significant part of the consumer market, adapting your brand's strategy to meet their preferences and expectations is becoming even more paramount. Like Millennials and Gen Z, those to follow will have different values and expectations. As a result, estate agents that can successfully navigate the digital native market will have a significant advantage in the market, and the changes future generations will bring.
Who are Digital Natives?
Digital Natives are those born between the early 1980s and mid-2000s; the youngest members of this group are currently in their late teens or early twenties, and the oldest members are in their mid to late thirties.
At this point in time, digital natives include Millennials, Generation Z, and Zillennials.
Why is this important to Estate Agents?
First-time buyers made up 53% of all property purchases with a mortgage in the UK last year. That's up from 50% from the previous year and 41% from a decade ago. It is also important to note that the average age of first-time buyers has been increasing for some time now and is likely to continue. For example, in 2005-06, the average age was thirty-one and as low as twenty-nine in the 1990s.
The average age of a first-time buyer in the UK has been steadily creeping up over the years. As of 2022, a first-time buyer's average age was thirty-three.
The Digital Native Market
Digital natives have never known a world without technology. They have grown up with the internet, smartphones, and social media from an early age and have diverse needs.
Being more aware of this demographic and the changes they bring as they become a more significant part of the market is the key to your future success.
With Gen Z included in this demographic and the oldest Gen Z being roughly twenty-eight now, it further enforces your need to consider ways to meet their heightened expectations.
Your Estate Agency Strategy
Estate Agents who emphasise digital channels, prioritise convenience and personalisation, and use technology to build trust will have a significant advantage over those who are not. The demand to embrace mobile-first technology, transparency, and social responsibility will only amplify as time continues.
Emphasising Digital Channels
Digital natives, as we know, are more likely to use digital channels like websites, social media, and mobile apps to (NB) research. Therefore ensuring your combined online presence is strong and that your digital channels are easy to use and navigate is essential.
Invest in digital marketing campaigns, social media advertising and search engine optimisation to increase your online visibility and reach. Traditional estate agency marketing strategies will continue to become less effective over time.
Authenticity and Transparency
Digital natives value authenticity and transparency. Therefore, your communication and actions must reflect your values and be authentic and transparent. Be open about your business and mission - a great example is sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your operations.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility
Digital natives are more conscious of environmental and social issues than previous generations - your actions must reflect your commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Investing in sustainable practices and supporting social causes will significantly benefit you.
It's no secret digital natives require personalisation, but this goes beyond "Hi, Name". You will be required to use data and analytics to understand their individual needs and preferences and deliver personalised marketing, campaigns, and promotions at every stage of their journey.
Digital natives are sceptical of advertising and are likelier to trust brands they have a relationship with, so be open and responsive to feedback. Always deliver on your promises and consistently provide high-quality services. In addition, instilling a solid brand image and further evolving your accessibility will only amplify your efforts.
The Property Market, Digital Natives and the Next Generation
Through your understanding and by catering to the preferences and expectations of digital natives today, you will better anticipate the trends and changes that future generations bring. Conversely, not adapting to digital natives now will make it more challenging for you to adapt to future changes, as you will not have the foundation to build on.
Your market and the technology available to you will constantly change, and estate agents who are more agile and open to change will be more successful in the long run.
It all starts now, and by adapting to digital natives today, you will be more prepared for tomorrow and the next generation.
Everything we have discussed in this article has been customer-focused; if we had to look at it from an employee-employer perspective, it is very much in sync.
Digital natives, in particular, Gen Z are passionate about making a difference and want to work for a company they feel has a broader mission and purpose that aligns with their values. They don't want to make money for the sake of it - they want to make an impact. And they won't stay in a job that doesn't satisfy them. Furthermore, Gen Z will pursue companies whose top priorities include workplace learning opportunities, coaching and mentoring.
Along with everything already noted, flexible leave, a healthy work-life balance, and remote working will almost become prerequisites, and technology will play a pivotal role in your ability to deliver on these, so look for software providers that can meet this demand.