There are some key differences between Gen Z and Millennials that are relevant to all marketers targeting younger consumers.
Generation Z refers to those born in 1995 or later, so they’re now 22 years old or younger. This generation has reversed the declining population trends in Australia, with a mini “baby boom” happening around the turn of the century.
A “Millennial” is the term for a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000.
So Generation Z (also known as Post-Millennials, the iGeneration, Founders, Plurals, or the Homeland Generation) is the demographic cohort that marketeers are interested in that immediately following on from the Millennials.
The difference between the two is important to understand in order to prepare your business, shift your marketing, adjust your leadership, and adapt recruiting efforts to stay relevant for the future.
How Generation Z Differs from Millennials
1. Less Focused
Today ‘relevant’ is constantly being defined and refined and re-defined, and Gen Z lives in a world of continuous updates. Accordingly Gen Z processes information faster than other generations thanks to apps like Snapchat and Vine. Thus their attention spans might be significantly lower than Millennials: perfectly suited to ads as short as 1 second, and zapping past online content that doesn’t grab their attention, as we have discussed previously.
2. Better Multi-Taskers
Though Gen Z can be less focused on single tasks than their Millennial counterparts: they will create a document on their computer, do research on their phone or tablet, while taking notes on a notepad, all in front of the TV with a laptop, while face-timing a friend.
Gen Z believe they can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play, with multiple distractions going on in the background, while working on multiple tasks at once. This kind of workflow choice is changing office environments already.
3. Different purchasing behaviour
Millennials care more about prices than Gen Z. This is arguably because they came of age during tougher economic times. That’s why 67% of millennials surveyed said that they would go to the website to get a discount coupon, whereas only 46% of Gen Z polled said they would do the same. And Millennials also tend to click on more ads; 71% of Millennials in a recent poll said they clicked an advertisement online before making a purchase, however only 59% of Gen Z’ers said the same.
This means messages and sales tactics may have to be nuanced between groups of consumers that look superficially very similar.
4. Gen Z is Full of Early Starters
Counter-culturally, some experts are predicting that more teens will go straight into the workforce, between the ages of 16 and 18, consciously opting out of the traditional route of higher education, and instead finishing their studies and qualifications online, if at all. With student fees rising it is thought that some Gen Z are baulking at the major investment, possibly leading to years of debt to come, knowing there are new, more affordable (not to mention more convenient) online alternatives coming up every day?
If a Gen Z’er knows they are capable of learning something themselves, or through a more efficient, non-traditional route, you can bet they’ll take the opportunity.
5. Gen Z Is More Entrepreneurial
According to Gen Z marketing strategist Deep Patel, “the newly developing high tech and highly networked world has resulted in an entire generation thinking and acting more entrepreneurially.” Generation Z people want more independent work environments. As a matter of fact, a whopping 72% of US teens say they want to start a business someday.
6. Gen Z Has Higher Expectations Than the Millennials
Millennials remember playing solitaire on their clunky PC, coming home to dial-up internet and using internet providers and portals that have since fallen along the wayside. Generation Z was born into a world overrun with technology. What was taken as amazing and inspiring inventions are now taken as a given for teens.
“When it doesn’t get there that fast they think something’s wrong,” said Marcie Merriman, executive director of growth strategy at consultants Ernst & Young. “They expect businesses, brands and retailers to be loyal to them. And if they don’t feel appreciated, they’re going to move on. It’s not about them being loyal to the business.” It’s vice-versa.
7. Gen Z Is Big On Individuality
Gen Z’ers were born social. In fact, somewhere north of 90% of Gen Z has a digital footprint, especially in tech-hungry Australia And arguably as a result of the celebrities and media they consume constantly, Gen Z seeks uniqueness in all walks of life primarily through the brands they do business with, their future employers, and so on. Style, panache, verve, quirkiness – these are all desirable. Would your company look like that to potential employees?
8. Gen Z Is More Global
Millennials were considered the first “global” generation with the development of the internet, but as more of the world comes online Generation Z will become even more global in their thinking, interactions, and relatability. 58% of adults worldwide ages 35+ agree that “kids today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country.”
That’s why “Diversity” will be an expectation of Generation Z. (And it’s why the youngest voters in the UK were also the least likely to vote for Brexit, for example.)
And connected to the world we know they are. A full 40% of Gen Z self-identify as digital device addicts.
This generation grew up with technology, and for them, it’s probably hard to go without their digital crutch. This younger generation is constantly on their phones or other devices and not watching as much live TV, or listening to free to air radio, and certainly with the same level of attention. This is driving an historic and massive shift in advertising methods and marketing messages, with as yet uncertain outcomes.
But this we do know – if your internet presence doesn’t work first in mobile, and then on PCs, then you don’t have an internet presence worth the name, full stop. Design for mobile first, every time, from here on in.
We also note that Gen Z has it’s own language which is increasingly working its way into the mainstream, and even into advertising. Here are just some of the thousands of words that have come into being over the last few years: ‘bromance’, ‘cray cray’, ‘defs’, ‘harro!’, ‘jks’, ‘kgo’, ‘mybad!’, ‘onesie’, ‘probs’, ‘selfies’, ‘totes’ and ‘yolo’.
For more discussion on relating effectively to both Millennials and Gen Z-ers, call us on +613 9426 5400. Or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of this article originally appeared on Huffington Post.