How Gen Z are reshaping the banking landscape

Generation Z (Gen Z) is projected to be the largest consumer group with a monumental impact on global markets, making them the most influential generation since the baby boomers.

Born between 1997-2012, they account for 32 per cent of the global population. They are unique compared to other generations because their behaviours and thought processes have been influenced by being raised in an era of digitalisation and economic instability.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of UK Finance or its members.

How are Gen Z reshaping the consumer landscape?

Gen Z display vastly different behaviours to prior generations, revolutionising and reshaping the consumer landscape, with transformational and challenging consequences. Businesses are under pressure to rethink how they communicate, deliver value, attract and retain customers.

Organisations will have to ask themselves what do Gen Z want and how can we best deliver it?

Only eight seconds?

Gen Z are proficient at multi-tasking, often rapidly swapping between activities and screens, resulting in them having the lowest attention span when compared to other demographics, a mere eight seconds and have been described as the ‘distracted generation’. Consequently, organisations must work harder to capture and sustain their attention in a fraction of the time comparative to other generations.

App design is key

Gen Z are more comfortable using online and mobile banking platforms and are less likely to visit traditional branches or use cash.

Traditional banks have lost 22 per cent market share since 2009 to the challenger banking apps, like Revolut, Monzo and Plum. They are therefore investing in app-based services to improve their digital offerings to win back market share.

The challenger banking apps help customers monitor their spending and create workable budgets and rewards for keeping on track. Consequently, financial services organisations need to create more targeted offerings, focusing on product and app design opportunities to meet expectations.

Core banking processes

Gen Z have a strong desire for immediacy – they’re used to being able to do everything on their phones and having information available immediately. This poses a challenge for some legacy banks, where their international payment processes can take up to four working days. Long wait times for bank account, loan and mortgage approvals, and ineffective processes will cause frustration.

Banks should be investing in making improvements to these processes to ensure they remain a competitive option for Gen Z.  

We are seeing a gradual step change. A project we completed with a global tier one bank revealed that investment is being made to optimise and streamline the customer onboarding process. Enhanced onboarding functionality, intuitive, minimalist design and accessibility will be key.


As the Gen Z workforce matures and increases their buying power, they will become savvy market participants. Their expectations of instantly available information, a customised experience and desire for financial awareness presents an opportunity for financial services organisations to develop functionality within applications, like artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistants and spending analytics.

Our increasingly diversified financial services market means organisations will have to work harder and invest in attracting and retaining Gen Z, while remaining competitive. They need to be mindful of Gen Z’s lack of attention span, the huge availability of alternatives and increased digitalisation, meaning swapping providers can be done with ease. 

Serving this cohort in a relatable way, while attempting to ensure that the banks’ other customers are not alienated is going to be a game changer.