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A Generation Of Skeptics Who Wants It Real & Raw

DeVries Global Singapore Releases Gen Z Study as part of its new offering: The Z Incubator

Be honest and truthful but not too transparent is consumer communications agency DeVries Global’s first advice to brands with the release of its latest study: Decoding The Z Mind in a Post-COVID Singapore. The report unpacks how the pandemic has irreversibly altered Gen Z consumption behaviours and purchasing decisions, drawing insights from a survey of 400 Gen Z respondents in Singapore aged 16 to 25 the agency conducted in Q4 2020.

DeVries Global Singapore unveils its new offering – The Z Incubator – with the release of its study on Gen Z in Singapore.

Why the focus on Gen Z?

Coming of age, entering the workforce, and facing a generation-defining crisis simultaneously, it is a disruptive moment for Gen Z, who is set to become a powerful, pivotal influence on the future of retail. In the face of an uncertain future obscured by the pandemic, how does Gen Z feel, think and plan to act? How can brands and marketers shift the way they connect and engage with them?


For this digitally native generation, rampant misinformation and fake news have left them hyper-aware and distrustful of information online. With a growing appetite for authenticity and honesty, it comes with no surprise that a whopping 96% of respondents survey indicated that they ‘are willing to pay a premium for brands they deem transparent’.

When it comes to marketing to Gen Z, what does it mean to be transparent?

But here comes the twist: You can’t be too transparent, especially if your operations do not live up to your communications. “People will just think it is an advertising strategy,” commented a respondent when asked if a brand can be too truthful. A generation unafraid to speak out and rally for causes they believe in, the study also reveals that Gen Zs do not hesitate to boycott brands over unethical business practices, false advertising and more.

It is time for brands to do an internal check-in for hypocrisy before they speak out on issues or make big claims. Otherwise, they run the risk of getting cancelled by the razor-sharp Gen Z.

“Transparency has become trendy, and many brands are jumping on conveying transparency in their marketing but are they really making a change in their business? These are areas that Gen Z is probing into,” – Li Ting Ng, Director of Innovation & Client Experience, DeVries Global Singapore.

“This is a smart and informed generation that values and demands transparency but understand that businesses aren’t perfect. The challenge then is to figure out what transparency means to your business and how you can commit and communicate it in a way that builds trust and credibility. Not transparency for the sake of it.”

What actually influences Gen Z purchase decisions? The study by DeVries Global decodes it all.


On the topic of truth and authenticity, the study found that peer reviews are the key to their wallet – and they want them personal and graphic. They find that reviews from other consumers are over 2X more important than recommendations from social media and even friends & family.

The report also revealed a surprising finding that while Gen Z has a global reputation of being possibly the most environmentally conscious generation, it seems that only 7% of Singaporean Gen Zs see environmental impact as an essential factor when making a purchase decision, as compared to other considerations like reviews and price.


The full report details more findings from the survey and distils its insights into three key takeaways for brands to note when marketing to, engaging and rallying Gen Zs.

With this report, DeVries Global is also officially introducing its new offering – “The Z Incubator” – an APAC-focused, insights-led innovation that puts this elusive next-generation at the core to help brands find and socialize their voice and positioning with them. Following this pilot study in Singapore, the agency has plans to roll “The Z Incubator” out across the Asia Pacific region, starting with Southeast Asia.

“We adopt a culture-first approach when it comes to creating high impact brand positioning and campaigns,” – Rafidah Rashid, Managing Director, DeVries Global Singapore. “The Gen Zs are at the very forefront of culture, and there is no better time than now for brands to get a head start by getting ahead of what matters to them.”

DeVries Global Singapore will reveal the second instalment to the study focusing on Gen Z’s beauty and health habits in June 2021. Access the full report here, culturedecoder.asia.

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