Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider
- Gen Zs believe themselves to be social justice-minded and more dependent on technology than millennials.
- Marketers have noticed that this generational cohort isn’t as brand-conscious as their peers, and they’re much more frugal.
My first memory ever is using dial-up internet (I think I was interested in the weird sounds), my parents are Baby Boomers, and I lived at least half of my life without the conveniences of mobile internet.
In other words, I’m a millennial.
Millennials have been framed as selfish, “psychologically scarred,” in constant need of validation, and killing several industries, from casual dining to (perhaps worst of all) bar soap.
But now it’s time for a new generation to take the spotlight — and the heat: Generation Z, or all Americans born after 1997, are the newest generation.
As I’ve reported on this emerging and talked to Gen Zs nationwide, I’ve been struck by the differences this cohort has in comparison to myself and my fellow millennials.
And marketers and teens alike have been happy to highlight the differences. Here’s what they say sets these two generations apart:
Gen Zs don’t know a world before mobile technology, while Millennials spent much of their childhoods without social media or smartphones
I remember the first time I could use the internet on a phone. My dad’s Blackberry could pick up some insanely slow data during a visit to New York City, allowing us to research tourist attractions without sitting at a computer. I was 13, and we were both in awe.
But my younger cousins were able to spend most of our family gatherings on their parents’ iPhones. They had Instagram accounts in elementary school. I barely knew what a social network was at their age.
The majority of teens told Business Insider that technology is what sets them apart from millennials, who are now in their 20s and 30s.
“For Gen Z, this tech is all we ever knew about and has been in our lives since we were babies,” New York resident Isabel Lagando, 14, told Business Insider.
Margaret Bolt, a 15-year-old from North Carolina, said that’s made her generation more impatient.
“Everything in our generation is immediate,” Bolt told Business Insider. “Since we have been raised in an age where texts and messages can be sent in the blink of an eye, we are less patient than other generations because we are used to having instant gratification.”
Virginia resident Maddie Martin, 19, said communication for her generation is utterly different, as well.
“We communicate through social media and texts, which changes the dynamic of communication,” Martin told Business Insider.
Gen Zs may be more entrepreneurial than Millennials.
Some of today’s teens are more entrepreneurial about how they get their money.
Gen Zs are increasingly less likely to . According to one study by Harvard Business Review, around 70% of them are — teaching piano, making money off a YouTube channel, or creative ways of making a buck.
And, while millennials went to college more than any other generation before them, some Gen Zs are trying to achieve success without a four-year degree.
“After seeing their millennial peers bogged down by debt and woefully underemployed, Zs are reconsidering the need for a formal education, opting instead for alternative programs andexperiences–or no college at all,” reads a report on Gen Z trends by AwesomenessTV.
Tiffany Zhong postponed enrollment at and dropped out of the University of California, Berkeley, becoming an 18-year-old venture capitalist and then founder of Gen Z consumer intelligence platform Zebra IQ.
“Why sink yourself into exorbitant amounts of debt when you can learn everything online or learn a specific subject matter at a fraction of the price?” Zhong told Business Insider.
Millennials loved their brands when they were teens. Gen Zs don’t really care.
My sister and I spent most of our allowances growing up on Abercrombie and Hollister togs — and all of our friends did, too.
But, with the exception of those obsessed with Supreme and other streetwear names, brand loyalty is not so common among today’s teens.
“They’re less brand-conscious and they are not spending as much as millennials do,” Kyle Andrew, chief marketing officer of American Eagle Outfitters, told Fast Company.
Gen Zs prefer trends that can be shown off on social media — like “unicorn makeup” and patches and t-shirts with political slogans.
Simply bragging that you’re able to afford a certain brand isn’t as interesting as showing off your individual personality.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
SEE ALSO: 104 Generation Zs reveal what it’s like to be a teen in 2018