I’m not trying to make us all feel old, but Generation Z is coming of age and is no longer just a bunch of kids who love their phone.
The oldest of them will enter the workforce in the five next years; it’s time to get to know them a bit better. As young adults, what impact will they have on the global economy? How do they differ from the previous generations?
Unlike Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, Generation Z has grown up with technology in their hands literally from day one. They use smartphones, tablets, laptops and smart TVs interchangeably and in new ways that surpass even Millennials. In school, they create a document on their school computer, do research on their phone or tablet, while taking notes on a notepad, then finish in front of the TV with a laptop, while face-timing a friend. Generation Z can quickly and efficiently shift between work and play and is able to work on multiple tasks at once with multiple distractions going on in the background. No doubt that this kind of flow might reshape the office of tomorrow!
Generation 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.” Gen Zers desire more independent work environments and have a more pragmatic vision of the working life. A study recently conducted by Accenture Strategy in the French universities shows that 84% of those about to graduate are ready to move for a job offer and 48% of them consider it acceptable to work evenings or weekends.
With the development of Internet, Millennials were considered the first global generation but as more of the world comes online, Generation Z will become even more global in their thinking, interactions and relatability. They don’t like stereotypes and diversity is the norm for them. More than ever, teens today have more in common with their global peers than they do with adults in their own country.
Constantly on their phone or device and not watching as much live TV, Gen Zers are highly visual, mobile natives, social experts and less receptive to traditional advertising. According to a study published by Defy Media and Adweek in May 2017, they use YouTube instinctively as a search engine the way the rest of us use Google and half of them can’t live without it. Another report conducted by Google and Ipsos reveals that 70% of them spend more than three hours a day watching mobile videos! The younger generation has higher expectations towards businesses, brands and retailers – transparency and storytelling are must-haves – and turns to social channels such as Snapchat and Instagram to share its brand loves and to connect more intimately than with Facebook.
More global, more visual and more connected, Generation Z is also said to be much more pragmatic and budget-conscious than Millennials. They are going to continue propelling the sharing economy. Their investment in companies like Airbnb, Uber and Netflix may be driven less out of idealism, and more out of a desire to economise, travel light and power their independence. Sharing economy is here to stay and, sooner or later, brands will have to adapt their business model to this new economy.
Gen Zers are definitely not the younger version of Millennials. Social scientists even predict that they will change our world again, just like Millennials did it a few years before. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!