Our knowledge of demographics and trends has been massively enlarged thanks to the countless studies, research projects, and data collection on millennials (those born approximately 1980 to 1995). As grateful as we are for all that millennial insight, a new wave is rolling onto the demographics landscape. Move over, millennials! Here comes Generation Z (those born in or after 1996).
As with every generation, Generation Z will bring its own unique influence to all aspects of how we live, do business, and function in the exciting future that awaits us. Fascinating insights also arise by comparing Generation Z to its older sibling generation, the millennials. Based on research by the new agency, “sparks & honey,” Erik Oster, writing for Adweek, shares an example:
“Millennials grew up alongside the Internet. Generation Z is immersed in social media, relying on it for socializing and also for school, with 52 percent using social media for typical research assignments, and around one-third working with classmates and watching lessons online.”
This means that Generation Z understands how to self-educate by using the Internet to locate information. With our Internet world in general, and with higher education in particular, this of course is a necessary qualification for success. Generation Z is the first truly native digital generation. Millennials grew up alongside social media, but Generation Z was born into it.
Speaking of unique characteristics, Generation Z happens to be the largest generation in the United States today. That might come as a surprise, but here is the breakdown:
- The “Silent” Generation—10.5%
- Baby boomers—23.6%
- Generation X—15.4%
- Generation Z—25.9%
Many organizations, businesses, and individuals did much work to understand the millennials and prior generations. That investment generated and still generates a return. Now, to get the same ROI with Generation Z, that work is just beginning.