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Publicis Sapient and Tearsheet publish GAP Z, new research that shows major disconnect between banks’ offerings and Gen Z’s expectations

Gap Z, available at, is part of a series of deep inquiry research into the opportunities and challenges for banks and other financial institutions to work with Gen Z 

NEW YORK, NY, May 31, 2023 – Publicis Sapient, a digital business transformation company, and leading financial media firm Tearsheet today launched Gap Z: There’s a Disconnect When It Comes to Banks and Gen Z. The new research, which surveyed the top US financial institutions in the industry from October 2022 to March 2023, found significant differences in what Gen Z consumers expect from their banks and what banks offer.

According to Gap Z, the biggest disconnect revolves around banks’ messaging towards Gen Z and the frequency of their communications.  For example: 

  • Only 60% of banks actively target Gen Z with marketing initiatives. As a demographic that consumes a lot of information via social media, Gen Z wants banks to reach them where they spend time, but 50% of banks surveyed post only one time per week.
  • Gen Z may not even see this messaging, as they have generally moved away from Facebook and Twitter in favor of TikTok and Snapchat. Unfortunately, only 15% of banks have active interactions on these platforms.

“Gen Z is the generation that is changing the face of banking. They have completely different behaviors when compared to previous generations, like seeking services that align with their values and views on society and the environment,” said David Donovan, EVP of Financial Services, North America at Publicis Sapient. “Gen Z is expected to inherit $11 trillion of wealth over the next 10 years, so banks must adapt and take action now to bridge the gap with Gen Z and win over this generation. It’s not enough to just say you work with this demographic. You must prove it. If not, they’re willing to vote with their wallets and bank elsewhere.”

“For the most part, banks use social media as brochure-ware,” said Tearsheet editor, Zack Miller. “They’re talking primarily about what they do in the community. But instead of talking about themselves in broadcast mode, they should be listening more to what their Gen Z customers are saying, engaging them right then and there.”

There’s also a mismatch with products that Gen Z wants and what their banks offer.

  • Buy Now, Pay Later is one of the most popular payment methods for 68 million Americans in this demographic. The Gap Z report shows only 45% of financial institutions offer such products, with 15% reporting that they have a plan to include such services in the future.

But even more significantly, the Gap Z research illustrates that today’s leading banks and financial institutions aren’t prepared to work with Gen Z, which, according to many banking studies, is expected to inherit $11 trillion of wealth over the next ten years.

  • The Gap Z report revealed that the majority of Gen Zers would switch their financial services provider to one more committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, environmental, social and governance issues.

To create a bridge to Gen Z customers, the research shows there are 4 major initiatives banks can take:

  • Inclusion at the top: It's time that C-suites start reflecting the colors and diversity of the wider world. This diversity can no longer be locked out of boardrooms and must be the voice of the institutions of tomorrow.
  • Earth first: Whether it's participation in ESG or helping build solutions that improve standard of living as a whole, money needs to flow in the direction that helps people and their planet long-term.
  •  Enter their world: Metaverse or TikTok, banks need to find a way to speak to generations that will be the core consumer group of tomorrow.
  • Cover all bases: Gen Z is actively looking for options that help them avoid revolving debt and wants to make wise choices with their money. Unlocking their potential as brokers of trust and financial wellbeing may pave the way for success for banks in the future.

Gap Z, available at STEEZ, a hub of comprehensive set of resources to help financial services firms better service Generation Z customers, is part of a series of deep inquiry research into the opportunities and challenges for banks and other financial institutions to work with Gen Z. There is also a full report, The Guide to Gen Z Readiness which creates a working definition of who Gen Z is, and what it means to stand up for them in financial services and beyond, and a comprehensive set of resources to help financial services firms better serve Gen Z customers.

About Publicis Sapient

Publicis Sapient is a digital business transformation company. We partner with global organizations to help them create and sustain competitive advantage in a world that is increasingly digital. We operate through our expert SPEED capabilities: Strategy, Product, Experience, Engineering and Data & AI, which combined with our culture of curiosity and deep industry knowledge, enables us to deliver meaningful impact to our clients’ businesses through reimagining the products and experiences their customers truly value. Our agile, data-driven approach equips our clients’ businesses for change, making digital the core of how they think and what they do. Publicis Sapient is the digital business transformation hub of Publicis Groupe with more than 20,000 people and over 50 offices worldwide. For more information, visit

About Tearsheet

Tearsheet is the only media company obsessively focused on technology’s impact on the financial services and fintech industry. Read by decision makers across product, marketing, and digital, Tearsheet connects with its audience across web, email, podcasts, the Outlier membership program and in-person events. For more information, visit


A collaboration between Publicis Sapient and Tearsheet, STEEZ is a hub for financial services professionals high and low to learn what it takes to capture, delight and retain today’s financial consumer. Industry professionals have access to STEEZ Life: The Guide to Gen Z Readiness, The STEEZ Podcast, and The Gen Z Readiness Survey. For more information, visit

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