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Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials



Marketers have been focused on Gen Y (a.k.a. Millennials) for more than a decade. In fact, Millennials are the most researched generation in history!

But Gen Z (born 1995 to present) is different from the Millennial generation. In many ways, Gen Zers are the opposites or extreme versions of Millennials and marketers need to adjust to them.

We are just beginning to understand Gen Z and its impact on the future, but this report explores what we know and foresee.

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Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials

  1. Meet Generation Z Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials
  2. 2 Meet “Generation Z,” Americans born after Gen Y (from 1995 to present) who are currently under the age of 18. Marketers have been focused on Gen Y (a.k.a. Millennials) for more than a decade. In fact, Millennials are the most researched generation in history! But Gen Z is different from the Millennial generation. In many ways, Gen Zers are the opposites or extreme versions of Millennials and marketers need to adjust to them. We are just beginning to understand Gen Z and its impact on the future, but here is what we know and foresee…
  3. There is a population tsunami approaching 3 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 (via Mintel 2014) Millennials ( 20-37 ) 24.5% Gen Z ( <19 ) 25.9% Swing ( 69+ ) 10.5% Gen X ( 38-49 ) 15.4% Baby Boomers ( 50-68 ) 23.6% More than a quarter of America’s population belongs to Gen Z, and with each birth, the segment is growing. 361,000Approximate number of babies born in the world each day.
  4. They influence household purchases 4 84% 74% 73% 69% 65% 60% 55% 52% 32% 29% Toys Apparel The week’s dinner menu Entertainment Family vacation Family cars Home furnishing Computer Cell/mobile TV Percentage of moms who feel their Gen Z child is influential when purchasing the following Source: JWT Intelligence 2012
  5. A generation with disposable income 5 Gen Z receive $16.90 per week in allowance which translates to $44 billion a year Source: Mintel 2013 “Activities of kids and teens.”
  6. They love to shop, especially online 6 45% Clothes Toys Online games Offline games Books Electronics Music Fashion accessories Shoes Movies Sports equipment Beauty products 55% 46% 54% 53% 47% 44% 56% 47% 53% 47% 53% 50% 50% 43% 57% 45% 55% 53% 47% 40% 60% 49% 51% Offline Online Percentage of Gen Z who prefer shopping online vs. offline Source: JWT Intelligence 2012
  7. They are eager to start working 7 Source: Study called “High School Careers” by Millennial Branding and Internships.com via entrepreneur.com 55%of high school students feel pressured by their parents to gain early professional experience Parents of Gen Z encourage their children to find jobs early and independently without their help. 4 in 5high school students believe they are more driven than their peers
  8. They are mature and in control 8 89.1 Teen Birth Rate (per 1,000 women age 15-19) 72 60 40 20 1.3 80 60 40 29.4 1950 ’60 ’70 ’80 ’90 ’00 20101980 ’85 ’90 ’95 ’00 ’05 2010 Alcohol Marijuana Cigarettes Cocaine Use of Illicit Substances (Among high school seniors) Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention via vox.com: WebMD (CDC Survey 2014) 25%of Gen Z teens say they were in a physical fight in the past year (down from 42% surveyed in 1991) 10%of Gen Z teens say they tried an e-cigarette in 2012 (a doubling in one year)
  9. Social listening reveals that Gen Z are determined to “make a difference” and “make an impact.” Social entrepreneurship is one of the most popular career choices. They intend to change the world 9 Source: U.S. Department of Labor, 2013, 26%of 16-to-19 year-olds are currently volunteering
  10. …this is how Gen Z took over… 10 Name: Adora Svitak Fame Age: 16 Profession: Activist, author and advocate for education Her 2010 TED talk, “What Adults Can Learn From Kids,” has received over 3 million views. Source: Adorasvitak.com
  11. …and this is the new norm for Gen Z 11 Name: Logan Laplante Fame Age: 13 Profession: Advocate for DIY education His 2013 TED talk, “Hackschooling Makes Me Happy,” has received over 5 million views. Source: About.me/loganlaplante
  12. What made them who they are? 12
  13. 13 Growing up in a post 9/11 world during a recession Source: Rutgers 2013, Annie E. Casey Foundation 2013 Gen Z were developing their personalities and life skills in a socio- economic environment marked by chaos, uncertainty, volatility and complexity. Blockbusters like The Hunger Games and Divergent depict teens being slaughtered. No wonder Gen Z developed coping mechanisms and a certain resourcefulness. 73%of Americans were personally affected by the Great Recession 1 in 4American children are living in poverty
  14. They learned that traditional choices don’t guarantee success 14 They witnessed the struggles of Millennials (think: older siblings, many still living at home), and have resolved to do things differently. 30%of high school students today are pushing out their graduation date Source: Report from Education week via The Atlantic
  15. Their education system focused on inclusive classrooms and differentiated instruction 15 They were raised in an American education system that focused on mainstreaming and classroom diversity. As a result, they are collaborative team players where everyone is equal at winning and losing.
  16. 16 Nature vs. Nurture: Gen Z had a unique childhood
  17. Multiracial children is the fastest growing youth group in the US 17 Modern families come in all colors and sizes. Long-standing views of race have been challenged by culture: celebrities, artists, politicians and athletes of mixed heritage have changed discourse, along with trans-racial and international adoptions. Source: Census: “The two or more races population: 2010 Census Brief”; American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry +50%increase in the multiracial youth population since 2000 (to 4.2 million) +400%increase in multiracial marriages (Black and White) in the last 30 years (with a 1,000% increase in Asian- White marriages)
  18. There is much greater diversity amongst teens and tweens 18 Research shows that multiracial children tend to be high achievers with a strong sense of self and adaptability to change. Source: Mintel “Activities of kids and teens” - US - Nov 2013 -1.5%decrease in the caucasian 6-17 year-old population is projected by 2018 +7.6%projected increase in the Hispanic teens population over the next five years, the fastest growing population in the US
  19. 19 Traditional gender roles have been challenged Gender roles and norms are blurring, which may make it harder for Gen Z to find mates and maintain households when they become adults. Self-identity is less constructed by gender than for past generations.Source: GoldieBlox.com
  20. Parenting styles have shifted 20 With studies showing the adverse effects of helicopter parenting, parents of Gen Z have been discouraged from mollycoddling. As a result, Gen Z have been given more space than Millennials, accessing answers and inspiration on the Internet, and are more self-directed. Source: Census: “The two or more races population: 2010 Census Brief”
  21. They live in multi-generational households 21 Gen Z have been raised in larger, extended households as retired grandparents have moved in and Millennial siblings (Boomerang Kids) have moved back home. As a result, they are sharers and have greater affinity and respect for the elderly. Gen Z share many of the same values as the Great Generation. Source: Census: “The two or more races population: 2010 Census Brief”
  22. 22 How are Gen Z remarkably different?
  23. They worry about the economy 23 Source: JWT Intelligence, 2012 0 20 40 60 80 100 What things cost today Cybercrime Government leadership Crime in your town Your parents’ job security Terrorism Wars around the world The economy Female Male
  24. Entrepreneurship is in their DNA Surrounded by DIY education and crowdsourcing, these teens dream of self employment. They feel pressured to gain professional experience at a very early age. Low wage entry level Gen Z jobs lead to competition with struggling Millennials, fueling competitiveness. 24 Source: Millennial Branding and Internship.com, 2014, Mintel 2014 61%of high school students want to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee (compared to 43% of college students) 72%of high school students want to start a business someday (compared to 64% of college students)
  25. More than 90,000 students enrolled in grades 5-12 have the exceptionally rare entrepreneurial talent to help create more jobs within the U.S. 25 “I plan to start my own business” “My school offers classes in how to start and run a business” “My school teaches about money and banking” “I will invent something that changes the world” “I work at least one hour a week” “I have an internship” “I run my own business” 55.3%46.9% 37.8%42.1% 3%4.6%16.9% Source: Gallup and Operation HOPE. A survey of 1,009 students in grades 5-12
  26. 26 They seek education and knowledge Researched online Watched lessons online Worked on a project with classmates online Taken a test/exam online Taken a lesson online Read a textbook on a tablet 85% 33% 32% 25% 22% 20% Percentage who have: Source: JWT Intelligence 2012; Edudemic survey 1 in 2Gen Zers will be university educated (compared with 1 in 3 for Millennials and 1 in 4 for Gen X)
  27. 27 They use social media as a research tool 52% of teens use YouTube or other Social Media sites for a typical research assignment in school Source: Pew Research, “How teens do research in the Digital world” 2012
  28. They multi-task across 5 screens 28 Age (13-17) Age (8-12) TV Cell/mobile phone Laptop computer Desktop computer iPod or other portable music player Gaming console Handheld gaming device Tablet E-reader 24% 25 23 17 16 13 11 4 5 17% 12% 4% 25 36 28 38 28 50 39 76 72 72 31% 33% 39% 57% 72% Source: JWT Intelligence Percentage who use the following devices multiple times per day
  29. Their attention spans are getting shorter 29 Gen Z are the ultimate consumers of snack media. They communicate in bite sizes. Research studies suggest that their brains have evolved to process more information at faster speeds, and are cognitively more nimble to handle bigger mental challenges. But, getting and keeping their attention is challenging. Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, The Associated Press 8 secis the average American attention span (down from 12 sec in 2000) 11%of children 4-17 years old have been diagnosed with ADHD (up from 7.8% in 2003)
  30. Gen Z have always known how to zoom, pinch and swipe. They have grown up with hi-def, surround- sound, 3D and now 4D — 360 degree photography and film is their normal. Ultra slow motion and hi- speed video is their standard. 30 They think spatially and in 4D 2005is the year that Google Maps launched with its satellite and zooming functions
  31. They lack situational awareness 31 Source: Pew Research, 2012 Teachers say that Gen Z lack situational awareness, oblivious to their surroundings and unable to give directions. Some speculate that Gen Z have become overly reliant on their devices.
  32. As Social Media natives, attuned to NSA surveillance issues, they are more concerned about disabling their phone’s geolocation than their privacy settings. Gen Z are drawn to incognito media such as Snapchat, Secret and Whisper. 32 Source: Facebook Social Ads Platform (“Potential Reach”), 2013 They don’t want to be tracked 25%of 13-17 year-olds left Facebook in 2014
  33. They communicate with symbols 33 Source: Pew Research, 2012 Gen Z speak in emoticons and emojis. Symbols and glyphs provide context and create subtext so they can have private conversations. Emoji alphabets and icon “stickers” replace text with pictures.
  34. They communicate with speed 34 Source: Pew Research, 2012 68%of teachers think that digital tools make students more likely to take shortcuts and not put effort into their writing 46%of teachers say digital tools make students more likely to “write too fast and be careless” Gen Z are agile communicators: speed of communication and repartee garners cultural currency. They’re accustomed to rapid-fire banter and commentary. As a result, Gen Z are not precise communicators and leave a lot of room for interpretation.
  35. 35 Source: AFP News Report, via MarketingCharts 2013 Twitter Facebook Instagram Tumblr Google+ 27% 30% 26% 42% 33% 23% 12% 17% 23% 3% 4% 4% 6% 5% 3% Fall 2012 Spring 2013 Fall 2013 % share of respondents, select findings They communicate with images Percentage of Gen Z using social media
  36. 36 They love the ephemeral and rarity Gen Z are drawn to social media which disintegrates and self-destructs. They suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) more than Millennials, so being culturally connected is critical.
  37. They spend more time with computers 37 Source: WebMD (CDC Survey 2014) 41%Of Gen Z spend >3 hours per day on their computers for non-schoolwork-related purposes (compared to 22% a decade ago)
  38. Their social circles are global 38 Source: JWT Intelligence and Pew Research center 81%of online teens use some kind of Social Media 26%of Gen Z would need to fly to visit most of their social network friends
  39. They are hyper-aware and concerned about man’s impact on the planet 39 Source: Unilever Project Sunlights How Children Inspire Sustainable Behavior in Adults, August 2013; JWT Intelligence 80%know about man’s impact on the planet 9 of 10continue to feel optimistic about their own future 7 of 10feel optimistic about the future of the environment 78%are concerned about world hunger 77%are concerned about children around the world dying of preventable disease 76%are concerned about man’s impact on the planet
  40. They are less active 40 This generation is much less active than previous generations. In some cases, sport is viewed as a tool for health instead of play and gaming may have replaced outdoor activities. Source: Mintel, Activities of Teens and Kids 2013, Entertainment software association 2013 51%of teen boys list gaming as their main source of entertainment 66%of 6-11 year olds list gaming as their main source of entertainment
  41. They live-stream and co-create Gen Z gravitate to live-streaming media, such as Twitch and Ustream. Two-way live-streaming and video- conferences (think: FaceTime and Skype) are their preferred ways to communicate. 41 Source: JWT Intelligence #1live-streaming platform in the world is Twitch, which features live video gameplay, news and chat
  42. 42 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 -2 -4 Scratch Fresh Oven Stove-top % change projected annual eatings F2018 vs. 2013 Gen Z Millennials Gen X Source: NPD Group’s “Future of Eating,” 2014 They are the biggest foodies Their interest in cooking is expected to increase over the next five years.
  43. Teen obesity has nearly tripled from 1971-2010, now stabilized at around 18.4% Teenage boys are more likely than girls to be obese (18.6% vs. 15%) 43 Unfortunately, they’re also obese Source: Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, 2013 (via Mintel 2014). Percentage of obesity among high school students, by state, for selected year 2003 and 2011
  44. But, food is their main vice 44 A Different Set of Vices Are having less sex (but more un-protected sex) Are more obese Are recycling and up-cycling Are more sedentary Are a happy lot Are focused on sharing Are self-confident Source: Mintel 2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2014 LUST GLUTTONY GREED SLOTH WRATH ENVY PRIDE
  45. 45 How to connect with Gen Z?
  46. 46 Tech Innate: 5 Screens Think in 4D Judiciously Share (GeoLoco Off) Active Volunteers Blended (race & gender) Togetherness Mature Communicate with Images Make Stuff Have Humility Future Focused Realists Want to Work for Success Collective Conscious Tech Savvy: 2 Screens Think in 3D Radical Transparency: Share All Slacktivists Multi-cultural Tolerance Immature Communicate with Text Share Stuff Have Low Confidence Now Focused Optimists Want to be Discovered Team Orientation Don’t treat them like Millennials Gen Z Millennials
  47. 47 Gen Z Millennials Very Different Experiences and References Politics Media Communication Homosexuality is no longer considered a disease Portable media player The DVD, an optical disc computer storage media format is announced Instant messaging, a type of online chat, is released by Microsoft Mobile phones with the ability to send text messages Massachusetts legalizes same-sex marriage Commercial music streaming services The video-sharing website Youtube is launched Snapchat, a photo messaging app is introduced Smartphones with a multi-touch interface Telecommunications Music Don’t treat them like Millennials
  48. 48 Checklist for connecting with Gen Z 1. Depict them as diverse (ethnically, sexually, fashionably) 2. Talk in images: emojis, symbols, pictures, videos 3. Communicate more frequently in shorter bursts of “snackable content” 4. Don’t talk down… talk to them as adults, even about global topics 5. Assume they have opinions and are vocal, influencing family decisions 6. Make stuff — or help Gen Z make stuff (they’re industrious) 7. Tap into their entrepreneurial spirit 8. Be humble 9. Give them control and preference settings 10. Collaborate with them — and help them collaborate with others
  49. 49 11. Tell your story across multiple screens 12. Live stream with them — or give them live streaming access 13. Optimize your search results (they do their Internet research) 14. Talk to them about value (they care about the cost of things) 15. Include a social cause that they can fight for 16. Have your house in order (in terms of sustainability) 17. Help them build expertise…they want to be experts 18. Tease (think: ephemeral, puzzles, surprises and games) 19. Feed their curiosity 20. Feed them Checklist for connecting with Gen Z
  50. 50 Gen Z topics & interests: what we’re tracking… Economic Disparity Gender Equality & LGBT Rights Malala TECHNOLOGY ISSUES NEWS Mixed Reality Socialism & Communism MEDIA & CULTURE 3D Printing & Doodling School Shootings Total Solar Eclipse March 2015 Whisper Common Core Education Nationwide YouTube Stars Drones iPhone 6 Twitch Wearables Oculus Rift Global Warming Weather Refugees Cost of Education Loneliness Brazil & The World Cup Gaga in Space 2015 Girls in STEM Net Neutrality Back to School Elon Musk Texting While Driving Tuna the Dog Autonomous Cars Tuna the Dog Avatar 2 2016 Star Wars Episode VII 2015 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 8/8 Hunger Games Mockingjay 11/21 Teen Choice Awards 8/10 Kids Choice Awards 7/17 MTV VMAs 8/24 Tarzan November Earth to Echo August 22 Jump Street June GEN Z 5
  51. Want to apply Gen Z insights to your business? We will continue to track Gen Z, adding a global perspective from our Scout Network (now in 11 countries) combined with international social listening. Stay tuned. Reach out to us if you want to explore how to apply these learnings — and future Gen Z insights — to your business. We can package Gen Z insights in a variety of formats, such as: • Customized “Meet Gen Z” reports, designed for sharing and educating • Immersive get-smart-fast-on-Gen-Z workshops   • Gen Z insights-to-applied-marketing round table discussions   • Bi-weekly “Gen Z Trend Pulses” — sharable newsletters on Gen Z culture and marketing opportunities 51
  52. 52 SOCIAL AGENCY PR AGENCY DIGITAL AGENCY SEARCH AGENCY EVENT MARKETING AGENCY ADVERTISING AGENCY agency of relevance - Social & Cultural Listening - Competitive Intelligence & War Gaming - Segment Analysis &Tracking - Topic Deep Dives - Event Tracking - Issue Monitoring - Real-time Burst identification - Channel Analysis - Content & Influencer Strategy - Editorial & Cultural Calendars - Macro Trend Identification & Quantification - Projecting Segments into the Future (Consumers of the Future) - Product, Service & Packaging Development - Business Model Design & Reimagination - Business Context Analysis - Futurism - Whitespace Identification - Brand/Partner & Acquisition Recommendations - Pre-Planned (70/30) Content Production - Online and Offline - Real-time Content Production - Real-Time Commerce - Social Media Content (short and long form) - posts, tweets, vines, videos, blogs, etc. - Community Management - Influencer Outreach - Channel Optimization & Fan Base Development - Analytics & Measurement - Real-Time Media Amplification cultural strategy at the core cultural intelligence innovation content & distribution powered by BRAND 5
  53. Sign up on our website to receive updates and future reports: www.sparksandhoney.com For more information: 212.894.5100 info@sparksandhoney.com @sparksandhoney facebook.com/sparksandhoney
  54. 54 IMAGE SOURCES 1. 9nong / Shutterstock 2. William Perugini / Shutterstock 3. Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock 4. Dragon Images / Shutterstock 5. Arina P. Habich / Shutterstock 6. gpointstudio / Shutterstock 7. mangostock / Shutterstock 8. Olesia Bilkei / Shutterstock 9. oliveromg / Shutterstock 10. “Adora Svitak, Writer, Teacher, Activist” by XPRIZE Foundation Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY 2.0). http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB 11. “Logan LaPlante” by Bret Simmons Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/ 2.0/ 12. mangostock / Shutterstock 13. OIlyy / Shutterstock 14. Rick Becker-Leckrone / Shutterstock 15. “Thunder Hill Elementary School Kindergarten Tour” by Howard County Library System Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ 16. meiunierd / Shutterstock 17. Goodluz / Shutterstock 18. Rawpixel / Shutterstock 19. Sunny studio / Shutterstock 20. ARZTSAMUI / Shutterstock 21. wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock 22. Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock 23. prudkov / Shutterstock 24. Goodluz / Shutterstock 25. Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock 26. “Teach/Learn” by Duane Schoon. Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY- NC-SA 2.0). https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ 27. Stokkete / Shutterstock 28. Mehmet Dilsiz / Shutterstock 29. Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock 30. EpicStockMedia / Shutterstock 31. “Undercover” by Tom Woodward. Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY- NC 2.0). https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ 32. Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock 33. N/A/ 34. “A (Snowy) Day In New York” by The All-Nite Images. Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY-SA 2.0). http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en_GB 35. “Snapchat” by Kai Chan Vong Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY 2.0). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB 36. Mahathir Mohd Yasin / Shutterstock 37. Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock 38. “Collaborative Networked Learning” by future.agenda. Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). https://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ 39. mangostock / Shutterstock 40. “eStar en Gamergy 2014” by artubr / Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY 2.0). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB 41.“First Meerkat App Stream From Helicopter Over New York City” by Anthony Quintano / Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY 2.0). http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB 42. Ruslan Guzov / Shutterstock 43. “Childhood Obesity” by Gaulsstin. Flickr / Licensed under (CC BY- SA 2.0). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ deed.en_GB 44. Tish1 / Shutterstock 45. Ollyy / Shutterstock 46. Syda Productions / Shutterstock 47. racorn / Shutterstock 48. William Perugini / Shutterstock 49. William Perugini / Shutterstock 50. N/A 51. Syda Productions / Shutterstock