China can teach payment firms a lesson about Gen Z

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They are in their early 20s, but are already changing the digital industry; they have never lived in a nondigital world; and they most recently outnumbered millennials worldwide, now making up 32% of the global population.

This is Generation Z — the next generation of consumers and a critical target audience for the payments industry and the digital economy. Until now, a lot of the fintech revolution has been driven by millennials, but Gen Z will be the next users of payment platforms. So, what must payments companies do to meet their expectations?

First, it is important to remember that Gen Zs grew up in a world with streaming services, mobile apps and voice technology at their fingertips. They turn to digital solutions to complete many of their tasks, in a frictionless and fast environment. When it comes to making payments, it will be no different — Gen Zs will be agnostic to the method of payment, as long as it works quickly and is seamlessly integrated with the apps and digital environments they live in.

In this sense, payment integration is an area where North America, Europe, and Latin America can learn a lot from China, as they are ahead of us in digital consumer payments. In the largest e-commerce market in the world, Gen Zs communicate with friends, shop for groceries and search for the best gifts online, as the digital solutions they use are all seamlessly integrated into "super apps," such as WeChat, Baidu and Tmall. These super apps function as an operating system of their own — and, of course, payment methods are among their main features.

Only time will tell if super apps will be a global trend. Nevertheless, they do show us that Gen Zs, as digital natives, expect to be able to make purchases within every channel, whether that be maps, messaging or social media.

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