How Well Do You Know Gen Z?

Danni Johnson | May 18, 2016

Generation Z (Gen Z) — sometimes called iGen — are those born in the mid-'90s to about 2010 (ages 6-20), currently making up 25 percent of the total U.S. population. They’re NOT Millennials and marketers can’t speak to both audiences identically. With a spending power of $44 billion annually, here’s what you need to know about Gen Z.

Gen Z learned to swipe a device before they could speak, making them more connected and tech savvy — usually with five devices. Technology allows them to proactively create solutions on their own. They’re willing to work for their success and create new jobs rather than to wait to be discovered like Millennials.

Since coming of age, they have known a war on terror, multiple economic crashes, frequent school shootings and a fear of global warming — simply put, chaos. Their reality has made them hardworking realists, unlike the optimistic Millennial generation. The diverse Gen Z kids are self-educators, do-gooders, entrepreneurs and extremely open minded.

Unlike Millennials, they do not want all their personal business online and they’re extremely selective about what they post to social media. They’re choosing Snapchat over Facebook for a higher degree of privacy and visual communication.

Here are three things marketers should know before speaking to Gen Z:

Be open-minded. Gen Z is growing up in a culture hypersensitive to racial, gender and marriage equality conversations. Don’t assume Gen Z will fit into a concrete (or immovable) set of beliefs. Understand snackable, private media. The sharing economy stops at Gen Z, whose eight-second attention span reflects self-reliance. Content will get shorter and one-on-one engagement will outpace shares. Visuals > text. Gen Z prefer emojis and imagery to text. They’re on Snapchat, Whisper and Instagram for heavy visuals, but also private messaging and anonymity.

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