The Millennials’ time in the limelight is starting to give way to a new cohort. Generation Z—those born between 1996 and 2010—is finally coming of age. Marketers are just starting to understand this generation, but one thing is becoming clear: Gen Zers are decidedly different from the Millennials who preceded them. Jason Dorsey, a researcher and Gen Z expert, went so far as to say that “they don’t want to end up like Millennials.”
Gen Z’s purchasing power is now estimated to be $44 billion. The companies that understand these consumers are in the best position to win their affinity...and their business.
So what do we know so far about Gen Z? Here are five fascinating findings on how Gen Zers differ from Millennials.
Shaped by different experiences
Gen Z and Millennials differ on what they consider to be epochal events. While many Millennials remember the 9/11 tragedy, Gen Zers are probably more likely to remember Justin Bieber’s arrest. Having lived through different times, Gen Z’s outlook on the world is unique, from their attitudes toward money, to their perspective on technology.
Different upbringing means different values
Gen Z is being raised largely by Gen X parents, while Millennials have Baby Boomer parents. This Slideshare from Ryan Jenkins, a researcher and thought leader on Millennials, demonstrates how this differing parenting style, in combination with the acute awareness of a recession, leads Gen Z to be more pragmatic than Millennials. Gen Zers are more realistic when it comes to job opportunities available in the market, for example. They’re also less likely to take risks, seeking stability and security in their jobs and finances.
Looking to different influencers
As the first true digital natives, Gen Z basically grew up with YouTube. That has an impact on how they view celebrities and who they consider to be influential. In fact, according to an infographic from Dana Communications, an overwhelming majority (67 percent) of Gen Zers prefer to see real people in ads, whereas only 37 percent of Millennials feel the same. Gen Z and Gen Y also have differing views of loyalty programs, according to the infographic.
Credit: Dana Communications
Gen Z is even more digital
While Millennials are sometimes stereotyped as the selfie generation, they’re actually slightly more conservative than Gen Z when it comes to digital behavior. For instance, 72 percent of Gen Zers visit YouTube daily, but only 52 percent of Millennials do the same, according to Civic Science. Marketers need to consider nuances like this when crafting their strategy, especially if they have products that target one demographic but not the other.
Credit: Civic Science
One values experiences, while the other prefers cool products
Crafting compelling marketing messages requires an understanding of what each generation values. While Gen Z and Millennials are close in age, they don’t necessarily value the same things. According to this visual overview from Deep Focus, 60 percent of Gen Z prefer cool products over experiences, but 77 percent of Millennials prefer the opposite.
Credit: Deep Focus
Gen Zers aren’t simply “Millennials on steroids”
In order to craft messaging, products and experiences that will resonate with Gen Z, brands can’t afford to simply replicate what they’re doing for Millennials. Without engaging this new generation on its own terms, brands will fail to capture the hearts and wallets of Gen Z.