Millennials have been a central focus of marketers for some time. It’s no surprise given the size of the generation and the fact that roughly $30 trillion in assets will be transferred to Millennials and Gen Xers from their Baby Boomer parents over the next few decades. That’s some serious spending power. But slowly creeping up behind Millennials is Generation Z, an even larger, more diverse group who bears some similarities to their predecessors but for the most part is quite different.
There is much debate (much like any generational group) about what years it starts and stops. Most people agree the generation starts somewhere around the 1995 timeframe. Here is a quick by-the-numbers snapshot:
- Makes up 25.9 percent of the U.S. population
- By 2020, they will make up 1/3 of the U.S. population
- They are the most diverse generation: 55 percent Caucasian, 24 percent Hispanic, 14 percent African American and 4 percent Asian
- They contribute $44 billion to the U.S. economy
With the oldest of this generation just starting to graduate college and enter the workforce, businesses are starting to turn their attention to this group in order to understand how to shift their leadership style, recruitment efforts, and marketing tactics to stay relevant.
After doing some research on this group, we’ve compiled six traits you should consider when you are working on your next campaign or preparing your office culture for the new generation.
Short attention span
This generation has grown up in a time when they have any piece of information you can imagine at their fingertips. They have never known a world without access to high-speed internet and social media, and with apps like Snapchat, they are accustomed to processing information faster. They tend to communicate with images, emojis and limited words.
Members of Gen Z are more fiscally conscious than their Millennial counterparts. They have grown up during a time of global recession, war and terrorism, which makes them more cautious in their spending decisions. Things like dwindling social security have also made this generation more proactive in planning for their futures. One study by Lincoln Financial Group of a group of 15- to 19-year old people found that they are saving earlier than generations that came before: 60 percent already had a savings account and 71 percent stated they were focused on saving for the future.
Early career starters
Their fiscally cautious trait brings us to this next point. More Gen Z-ers are opting to go straight to the workforce out of high school and either pursue an education online or none at all. They have grown up in a time when they have seen their parents and their predecessor generation (Millennials) struggle to manage massive student loan debt while coming out of college in a post-recession era. They are more likely to be realistic and with so many affordable options available now, they are not taking traditional routes. For example, 64 percent of Gen Z-ers are considering advanced degrees, compared to 71 percent of Millennials.
This generation is extremely entrepreneurial. Gen Z grew up in a highly connected world and watched people like Mark Zuckerberg made his first million dollars in his early twenties. They have access to the tools and resources they need to be able to create, fundraise and launch a business at their fingertips. They desire more independent work environments and according to one study, 72 percent of teens have a desire to start their own business.
Value authenticity and transparency
This is a generation who doesn’t take your word for it. They have seen big name companies succumb to scandals around privacy, lying and deceitful tactics. This generation will do their due diligence and research to make sure your actions match your message. They value a company who is authentic, transparent and unique. Brand loyalty comes second to a quality product, and this group is not afraid to switch brands if they find a higher-quality product somewhere else.
In addition, this brand places a high value on social impact. According to one survey, 60 percent want to have an impact on the world, and one our of four volunteer their time for a cause they are passionate about.
This is a group that has never known an existence without social media and their ability to connect with people across the globe is limitless. It’s also one of the most diverse generations. Diversity is not seen as an important initiative, but rather as an expectation of this generation.
To wrap up…
This generation is going to be a force to be reckoned with. As they take their ideas and experiences into the workplace in the coming years, Gen Z is sure to make a difference in all aspects of business, from the way they market to the way they hire.