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JWT: Generation Z — Executive Summary (May 2015)

Meet generation Z, the 12- to 19-year-old cohort, who care deeply about ethical consumption, are the most progressive generation to date, use digital technology more than any previous group, and are set to change the world with their optimism and ambition.

This is an executive summary of the report. To purchase the full 79-page report, visit www.jwtintelligence.com.

JWT: Generation Z — Executive Summary (May 2015)

  1. 1. Savvy, connected, changing the world GeNeRaTION Z e XeCUTIVe sUm maRy
  2. 2. Like the badly behaved older child, millennials are getting all the attention. Ignored is their younger sibling—the ambitious, engaged, sensible child. It’s time we looked at generation Z, a group that wants to change the world and might just do it. GENERATION Z
  3. 3. GENERATION Z 3 GENERATION Z Generation Z are today’s teenagers. And they’re full of surprises. Born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, they are the first true digital natives. Making up about a quarter of the population in the UK and US, under-20s have got a lot to say and a lot to spend. In the US alone, they have $44 billion in annual purchasing power. Like the badly behaved older child, millennials are getting all the attention. Ignored is their younger sibling—the ambitious, engaged, sensible child. It’s time we looked at generation Z, a group that wants to change the world and might just do it. Unlike millennials, generation Zers have grown up in tough times and, if anything, have watched millennials and learned from their mistakes. They know education needs to be active rather than passive and that unemployment is a real risk. In a celebration of generation Z, energy drink brand Lucozade called them “self-starters, not selfie-takers.” They’re active and aware. If millennials are content to use the internet to browse paparazzi shots of the Kardashians and wallow in 1990s nostalgia, generation Z wants to create, connect and change. i-D magazine’s recent “Activist Issue” looked at generation Z: “The internet has helped us in making the world a better place. It's our generation's ears and eyes, giving us the knowledge and tools to implement change.” INTRODUCTION Ian Van Buskirk, Minerva Schools student, San Francisco. Photography by Winni Wintermeyer.
  4. 4. GENERATION Z 4INTRODUCTION “The generation before could be characterized by excessive consumption …it makes sense for the next generation to distinguish themselves from their older siblings and cousins.” Fiona Measham, Durham University The caricature of a millennial is Hannah Horvath, Lena Dunham’s character in Girls. The series opens with Hannah’s parents telling her they will no longer pay her rent. Hannah, 24, self-obsessed and directionless, is appalled. Her generation Z counterpart is Alex Dunphy of Modern Family. She’s ambitious, always worrying about school work and getting into a good college. She doesn’t break the rules and worries about the world around her, especially the environment. Generation Z is a remarkably mature generation. While the teenage years are typically seen as a time for experimentation and reckless behavior, that isn’t the case with generation Z. Drug use, alcohol consumption, smoking and teenage pregnancy are at their lowest levels for decades. “The generation before could be characterized by excessive consumption,” Fiona Measham, an academic at Durham University in the UK, recently told The Daily Telegraph. “It makes sense for the next generation to distinguish themselves from their older siblings and cousins.” Generation Z is rebelling by conforming. There’s a greater sense of responsibility as today’s teenagers are more concerned about the future. Professor Measham explained, “I talked to a 17-year-old who said, ‘We have to stay sober to sort out the mess your generation have made of things.'”
  5. 5. GENERATION Z 5TRENDS G e n e r ation Z by nu m be rs Connected and conscientious, generation Z is not easily typecast. They’re always online… 86% use their smartphone multiple times a day …and they worry about that 79% agreed that “people my age spend too much time connected to digital devices” Technology brands are important to them… 73% say the brand they buy is important to them …but that doesn’t mean they want the latest gadget Just 35% thought that if you didn’t have the latest device you weren’t cool They still watch TV… 69% watch more than two hours of television a day …but they favor YouTube 70% watch more than two hours of YouTube content each day They still love Facebook… 71% of our SONAR™ survey used Facebook, more than any other social network …but they’re cautious about what they post 82% think carefully about what they put on social media They’re happy shopping online… 68% of our survey said they were as comfortable purchasing online as offline …but they prefer shopping offline 67% would rather shop in stores They’re preparing for the future… 83% agree it’s important to start saving for their future now …but they’re concerned 64% worry about how successful they’ll be in the future
  6. 6. 6 1 Think about your vocabulary Talk about “the internet” not “the Internet.” It’s not a brand name or a destination. It’s just there, another part of our life. Remember that the internet is now classed as a utility, like water or electricity. Even words like “online” are problematic. Generation Z is always connected; there is no offline anymore. 2 Don’t underestimate them They aren’t just teenagers. They’re consumers, activists, and content creators. 3 Don’t stereotype them Generation Z is racially diverse and moving beyond binaries like “straight” and “gay,” “male” and “female.” 4 Have a positive impact on the world Generation Z wants to change the world. Brands should join them. 5 Don’t assume you speak their language There’s more to engaging with this generation than adopting teen slang. 6 They listen to their friends and peers And those peers might be someone they watch on YouTube. 7 Don’t make them wait Whether it’s ordering a taco on their phone or wanting a new outfit that day, generation Z isn’t used to waiting. 8 Move beyond the mainstream Embrace and celebrate niche trends. They might be tomorrow’s big thing. 9 Don’t be provincial Generation Z takes inspiration from around the world, from food to fashion. 10 Let them choose Whether ordering from a secret menu or hacking education, generation Z will not respond to a one-size-fits-all approach. Key Takeaways for Brands
  7. 7. GENERATION Z 7 SAMPLE CASE STUDY Photography by Patrick Strattner.
  8. 8. GENERATION Z 8 Caroline loves shopping, dreams of owning a Chanel Boy bag, and gets teased by her friends for the amount of time she spends looking at clothes on Instagram. But her future plans might surprise you. “I always thought I was going to be a doctor,” she says, “but as I get older I go toward the technology and engineering fields.” Caroline isn’t alone. The girls of generation Z are embracing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The Girl Scouts of America say 74% of high school girls are interested in the subjects, but relatively few make it their career. Even President Obama (father of two generation Z girls himself) is worried: “We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent not being encouraged… the way they need to.” Luckily Caroline isn’t easily put off: “It doesn’t turn me off that it’s seen as a male industry, it turns me on more. Women are equal. If I do something and enjoy it, why not? Why can’t I be one of the people to end the inequality?” she asks. Carolin e , 16, Los Ang e les Caroline Weiss, photography by Patrick Strattner. 8
  9. 9. GENERATION Z 9 One way to encourage young women to explore STEM careers is through mentoring and hands-on experience. For Caroline, it was working with Genesis that really inspired her, turning an interest into a career path. Genesis is a California-based organization that offers teenagers the chance to work with the latest technology, showing them what is possible through STEM and how it can be used to help others. Caroline has been involved in the Helping Hands project, where prosthetic hands are created by 3D printing and sent to children who need them. Caroline and eight of her classmates were invited to Las Vegas earlier this year for the International CES, where they met technology industry figures at the Ipsos Girls’ Lounge, including Megan Smith, the chief technology officer of the United States. “It was a very girly place,” says Caroline. “There were manicures and clothes you could try on. But there were completely powerful women there from Facebook, and Google and Yahoo. You can be a girly girl and still be a feminist.” Caroline, 16, Los Angeles 9 “We’re a generation who’ve always known technology, and we want to use it for good—to improve our lives and everyone else’s lives.” Caroline Weiss, photography by Patrick Strattner.
  10. 10. GENERATION Z 10 It’s not a word she’s afraid to use. “I’m a very big feminist. I use the word. A lot of people don’t like to use it,” she says. She cites Emma Watson as an inspiration; her speech to the UN on gender equality particularly resonated with generation Z. Caroline identifies with Watson’s observation that, too often, calling yourself a feminist is confused with hating men. “It was an amazing speech,” Caroline says. Above all, Caroline is an optimist. “We’re a generation who’ve always known technology, and we want to use it for good—to improve our lives and everyone else’s lives,” she says. “You can do everything with STEM, from saving someone’s life to finding directions. Whatever you make will help others in some way.” CA RO LI N E: I can’t live without my phone My favorite brand is Alice + Olivia My favorite store is Bloomingdale’s The last thing I posted on a social network was a Throwback Thursday of my siblings and me The thing I care about most is my family and friends Caroline, 16, Los Angeles 10 Caroline Weiss, photography by Patrick Strattner.
  11. 11. The Innovation Group is J. Walter Thompson’s futurism, research and innovation unit. It charts emerging and future global trends, consumer change, and innovation patterns—translating these into insight for brands. It offers a suite of consultancy services, including bespoke research, presentations, co-branded reports and workshops. It is also active in innovation, partnering with brands to activate future trends within their framework and execute new products and concepts. It is led by Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group. The Innovation Group is part of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, a platform for global research, innovation and data analytics at J. Walter Thompson Company, housing three key in-house practices: SONAR™, Analytics and the Innovation Group. SONAR™ is J. Walter Thompson’s research unit that develops and exploits new quantitative and qualitative research techniques to understand cultures, brands and consumer motivation around the world. It is led by Mark Truss, Worldwide Director of Brand Intelligence. Analytics focuses on the innovative application of data and technology to inform and inspire new marketing solutions. It offers a suite of bespoke analytics tools and is led by Amy Avery, Head of Analytics, North America. Contact: Lucie Greene Worldwide Director of the Innovation Group J. Walter Thompson Intelligence lucie.greene@jwt.com Report author: Graeme Allister