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Are You Part Of The Generation Z?
At some point in time in our life, we all could offer a list of our very own recollection of yesteryears. We all have a series of memories of our friends way back in the elementary school, of those special holidays and family gatherings, the places we visit, the music we listen and the dressing fashions we liked in those old days. Some folks are from the pre Baby Boomers era, others belong to the Baby Boomers era, some belong to the Millennial generation and some belong to the so-called Generation Z. Where do you find yourself? The popular assumption, is that people in their 20s and younger are all Millennials. This is partially true. Millennials are typically classified as those who are now in their mid- to late-20s and 30s who brought in the new century. Several social ills were blame to the Millennials.  Millennials were thought as unpleasant children living in a fantasy world of no losers. Millennials earns a trophy and recognition merely for showing up and not for truly deserving them. While these rebels were indeed comprised of Millennials, another group was mixed in—Generation Z. This post-Millennial group is today’s teens, the oldest of whom have now entered adulthood. According to Forbes (2015), the generation after Millennials, Generation Z, made up 25% of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. Frank N. Magid Associates estimates that in the United States, 55% of Generation Z are non-Hispanic Caucasians, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American, 4% are Asian, and 4% are multiracial or other. Generation Z, born after 1996, is coming of age and gaining distinction. Older generations such as Baby Boomers and Generation Xers think Gen Zers are simply teenage versions of their Millennial counterparts. Increasing evidence, however, is showing them to be quite different. The convenient assumption—that this latest generation can simply be pegged as lazy, unmotivated, entitled, privileged, spoiled, unwilling to “pay their dues” for their career path to success, and unteachable—does not fit. No other generation as this one, could truly be labeled as the Internet Generation—this technology having been available their entire existence. Exposure to a WWW of facts, figures and opinions has shaped their outlook and perspective. Social media and other forms of digital communication allow for a staggering flow of ideas and thoughts. The assortment of attitudes and viewpoints that now bombard young minds is near limitless in size and scope. Peer pressure is no longer confined to a given schoolyard or neighborhood. The sphere of influence is now global—allowing Gen Zers to find a fit anywhere within a tsunami of views and perspectives. This reality makes the task for market researchers and demographic experts, whose job is to identify and label groups within populations, that much more difficult. How do you effectively brand a group for whom being different is not only okay, but encouraged? Steeped in the ideals of diversity and extreme tolerance, Generation Z appears to be a living embodiment of the “do your own thing” philosophy. Generational behavior, viewpoint and opinions are typically shaped by the events of the time. Baby Boomers, for example, experienced the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the political corruption of Watergate. Gen Xers saw the Berlin Wall collapse, quickly followed by the demise of the Soviet Union, officially ending the Cold War. Millennials saw the advent of the Internet, the tragic events of 9/11, and the tough economic times of the late-2000s and early 2010s. For Gen Zers, these significant events are nothing more than history—in some cases ancient history! Nonetheless, the results of these past events—distrust of government, globalism, advanced technology, hyper-security and fear of terrorism, as well as financial concerns—are their norm. In a recent Inc. article titled “Gen Z Is Anxious, Distrustful, and Often Downright Miserable,” the amalgamation of these viewpoints became clear. Members from Generation Z were surveyed and it was revealed that they: Are pessimistic about their career and financial prospects—79 percent worry about getting a job and 72 percent worry about debt. Are anxious—70 percent worry about terrorism. Are deeply distrustful of the government—only 10 percent trust the government to do the right thing (this number was 20 percent for Millennials). Are deeply distrustful of business—only 6 percent trust corporations to do the right thing. Think the system is rigged based on race, gender, economic status, and social standing. Having seen their parents endure economic difficulties, a nation at war, terrorism and the perils of technology (e.g., cyberbullying), Zers appear more hardened to life than the generation who came before them. In today’s post-9/11 world, most of Generation Z cannot remember flying on a commercial airline without undergoing strict security checks. Tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombings, the Orlando nightclub shooting, the attacks in Paris, and other acts of terrorism have presented a world filled with violence and mayhem. This generation routinely witnesses, through the internet, dead bodies lying in the streets. Such events and images alter a young person’s psyche. Also, Generation Z possesses digital know-how. They seamlessly maneuver laptop computers, tablets, smartphones, social media, etc. Because of this heavy exposure to technology, they are skilled in accessing information very quickly and getting results immediately—if not yesterday. While beneficial, this also has consequences. In an article titled 15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Generation Z, publishes the following statistics: 1. Consumers 19 and younger prefer social networks like Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper, and a quarter of 13- to 17-year-olds have left Facebook this year. 2. By 2020 Generation Z will account for 40% of all consumers. 3. Gen Z are adept researchers. They know how to self-educate and find information. Thirty-three percent watch lessons online, 20% read textbooks on tablets, and 32% work with classmates online. 4. More than a quarter of America's population currently belongs to Gen Z, and with each birth (361,00 babies born in the U.S. every day) the segment is growing. 5. Gen Z recieves $16.90 per week in allowance, which translates to $44 billion a year. 6. Whereas Millennials use three screens on average, Gen Zers use five: a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop, and iPod/iPad. 7. The average Gen Zer has the attention span of about eight seconds. They have grown up at a time when they're being served media and messaging from all angles, and have adapted to quickly sorting through and assessing enormous amounts of information. 8. Gen Z shares the entrepreneurial spirit of Millennial innovators: About 72% of current high-schoolers want to own their own businesses, and 76% hope they can turn their hobbies into full-time jobs. 9. Gen Zers are do-gooders; they want to make a differnce in the world. Sixty percent want their jobs to impact the world, 26% of 16- to 19-year-olds currently volunteer, and 76% are concerned about humanity's impact on the planet.  10. Fifty-eight percent of Gen Zs are either somewhat or very worried about the future. 11. Gen Zers influence $600 billion of family spending. 12. Seventy-nine percent of Generation Z consumers display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices. 13. Fifty-five percent of those 18 years of age and younger would rather buy clothes online, and 53% would rather buy books and electronics online. 14. Forty-two percent of Gen Zers follow their parents influence, compared to just 36% of Millennials. 15. Generation Z consumers spend 7.6 hours per day on average socializing with friends and family. The complete article at this link Are you part of the Generation Z? Or perhaps you have children members of the Gen Z? Do you work with folks of this group or perhaps you are interested in understanding the marketing components to reach this new generation? In any event, this new generation has a great number of challenges ahead of them and they may offer a great number of challenges to previous generations as well.
Middle school students use smartphones during a visit by U.S. President Obama in Mooresville, North Carolina (June 6, 2013).
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