In 1996 the first member of what is called Generation Z came into our world. And in the very near future they will become a big part of the world of marketers.
Numbering 23 million, there are 1 million more members of Generation Z (born between 1992 and 2011) then the Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000)
Here’s how to get ready for a generation just now entering their peak buying years and very different from Millennials and Boomers – but a lot like those born between 1925 and 1942 – the parents of the Boomer generation and known as the Silent Generation who saw a series of major world wars in their lifetimes.
Generation Z doesn’t just stand out in terms of how they relate to brands; they’re also spending their money differently and will take this into their adult years.
A survey by Lincoln Financial Group of 400 members of generation Z aged 15 to 19 found that they are saving far earlier than than older generations: 60% of them already have savings accounts and 71% say they are focused on saving for the future.
Their top three priorities are getting a job, finishing college, and safeguarding money for the years to come.
They rate these goals above spending time with friends and family, working out, or traveling. Jamie Ohl, president of retirement plan services at Lincoln Financial, says that we’re seeing similarities between this young generation and the one that emerged in the years following the Great Depression. “When I think about the ‘greatest generation’ having gone through the Depression and how they taught their children, the boomers, to save, that’s what this generation of parents is teaching generation Z,” she says.
But while generation Z is realistic about the challenges ahead, 89% of them remain optimistic about their futures, which is higher than any other generation on record.
For the past several years, the media has been obsessed with millennials, the most studied group ever. But as Generation Z grows up and gets ready to enter the workforce, corporations are paying more attention to this crop of young people born between 1996 and 2011. At 60 million strong in the United States, they outnumber millennials by 1 million. It would be easy to assume that they are just an exaggerated version of the generation that came before them, spending even more of their lives on social media, doing even more of their shopping online, and demonstrating an ever greater collaborative nicer nature.
But generation Z grew up in a starkly different historical context than millennials, which has given them a distinct outlook on the world.
Millennials were internet pioneers. They invented Facebook, shopped from their smartphones, and smoothly transitioned from satellite TV to Hulu and Netflix. Generation Z, meanwhile, doesn’t remember life without these basics of 21st century life. Millennials helped elect a black president and legalize gay marriage; many generation Zers see these milestones as the norm. Millennials came of age during a time of economic expansion and were shocked to find a diminished, unwelcoming job market after college; generation Z has been shaped by the recession and is prepared to fight hard to create a stable future for themselves.
They sure sound like a great generation in their own rite and as marketers we should be making changes right now to accommodate their outlook, wants and needs.