The Gen Z Cheat Sheet
Millennials’ little siblings are growing up.
Here are 10 things you need to know.
This May, the very first Generation Z kids will finish college and enter the workforce. Born in 1995 or later and clocking in at over 25% of the US population, with $44 billion in spending power and a very different outlook from their Millennial siblings, Gen Z is a smart, savvy, globally-minded force that’s already transforming how brands interact with consumers. Let’s take a look at how they’re turning the world inside-out.
1. They are incredibly DIVERSE.
Gen Z is the first US minority-majority generation. And across ethnicities, these kids are proud of their cultural heritages — although they don’t let it define them.
2. They are open about GENDER IDENTITY and SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
In a JWT Intelligence study, 82% of respondents said that they don’t care about sexual orientation; 14% self-identified as gay or bisexual. And 81% of them believe that gender doesn’t define a person; self-identity is less constructed by gender than ever before.
3. They are RESPONSIBLE and FUTURE-FOCUSED.
Drug use, alcohol consumption, smoking, and teenage pregnancy are at their lowest levels in decades. And these kids and young adults are savers. They saw what the economy did to their Millennial siblings and they’re putting money aside now so that they don’t have to move back home after college. 83% believe it’s important to start saving now and a whopping 63% self-identify as savers, not spenders.
4. They are ENTREPRENEURIAL.
72% of Gen Z teens say they want to start their own businesses — often for reasons of self-reliance. They want to avoid the pitfalls of the generation before them — so they are taking charge of their own futures.
5. They are GLOBALLY MINDED.
Get Z grew up in an atmosphere of global terror, war, and economic recession, and at an early age they became more concerned about jobs (70%), terrorism (61%), and war (60%) than the more traditional teen problems like attractiveness (46%) and friends (30%). They feel like they have a responsibility to fix what older generations have broken, and aspire to jobs that make a difference in the world.
6. They are pursuing HIGHER EDUCATION.
They take an active interest in their educations because they’re nervous about unemployment. They have access to a world of information at their fingertips, and they don’t hesitate to seek out content on Google and YouTube for their own educational purposes. Gen Z is likely out-attend and out-graduate all previous generations; a whopping 89% of them thinks college education is valuable.
7. They are ECO-CONSCIOUS.
76% of Gen Zs said that they are concerned about the environment. They see being green is the bare minimum they can do — and they want to do more.
8. They are COLLABORATIVE.
Growing up in an education system focused on inclusivity and diversity, they approach problems as a team and see everyone as equals.
9. They’re the first true DIGITAL NATIVES.
There was never a time before digital technology and connectedness for Generation Z. They were given cellphones at the average age of six years old; 75% of kids under the age of 8 have access to a smartphone. And while Snapchat and Instagram may be their favorite social media platforms, Facebook still isn’t dying: 71% of them use it — more than any other social network.
10. They’ve redefined CELEBRITY.
According to the JWT Intelligence study, 70% watch more than two hours of YouTube a day (vs. 69% for television). With millions of subscribers, YouTube personalities are more influential to Gen Z than traditional entertainment celebrities. They trust YouTubers to be honest — and tell them what’s hot (or not).
With Gen Z coming into their own, brands will need to be more honest, authentic, and nimble than ever before. These kids and young adults feel such a weight of responsibility on their shoulders that brand loyalty barely registers. To stay relevant, brands must engage with Gen Z on subjects that matter — to them.
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US Census Bureau, J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Generation Z Survey, The Huffington Post, Think Multicultural We Are Gen Z Report, The Center for Generational Kinetics, Sparks & Honey Meet Generation Z