Generation Z is going to make the next 20 years in marketing very interesting. As a Gen X parent of four Gen Zers, I marvel at the ways they consume content, and the relationships they want to have with their favorite brands. For this post, I’ve done some digging on the Internet to help inform my views of this generation, and their tremendous potential. Here’s what stood out to me:
Born on Date: 1997
Those born since 1997 are all part of Generation Z. That makes them 22 years old or younger in 2019. One of the primary reasons for the decision to use 1997 as the dividing line between Millennials and Gen Z is that the oldest Gen Zers were 4 years old at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Therefore, they have little to no actual memory of 9/11, and the U.S. has been actively at war with the forces of global terrorism their entire lives.
They are the largest generation in the U.S., representing 24% of the U.S. population. That’s bigger than the Baby Boomers (23%), Millennials (22%) or their parents’ generation (Gen X – 19%). By 2020, Gen Z is estimated to have $3 Trillion in purchasing power.
They’ve never known a world without the Internet, and they’ve enjoyed access to high-speed connectivity for most or all their lives. The first iPhone launched in 2007, when the oldest Gen Zers were 10. Unlike Millennials, who adapted to social media and on-demand entertainment, Gen Z has never known anything else.
Gen Zers appear to be making some good decisions. Compared with their parents (Gen X), they are less likely to have tried alcohol as teenagers, and they are dramatically more likely to wear their seatbelts. They are doing well relative to Millennials, too. Comparing teens from 2008 and 2019, there’s a significant drop in teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, and the percentage of teens who did not graduate on time from high school.
As they look towards their futures, they crave an important say in all aspects of their jobs. More-so than generations before them, they have entrepreneurial aspirations, and most hope that their future jobs will somehow be derived from their current hobbies. Further, they aspire to have a positive impact on the world around them.
Regarding privacy, they accept that brands will understand their customer preferences and market to them in a personalized way. At the same time, they are keenly aware of keeping their digital conversations private.
They are habitual multitaskers. Most Gen Z students report that while doing homework they also listen to music, use social media, watch TV or send text messages. With an attention span around 8 seconds long, they consume content very quickly, in very small bites.