Millennials Versus Generation ZHarry Coulter | 14 Dec 2017
Whereas not so long ago business was all about recruiting millennials to work for you, and appealing to their purchasing power in advertisements, Generation Z is now coming of age. In the past members of Generation Y were the main target market, but now, this has all changed. To stay relevant in business, understanding the latest “leaders of tomorrow” is essential today. The time has come to learn about what makes Generation Z tick.
The defining line between Generation Y and Z is, in a word, fluid. Some experts say that anyone born after 1995 is a Gen Z, while others put the oldest people in this category as born in 1998. Wherever the cut-off point between Gen Z and millennials lies, it’s easy to know which side of it someone falls on when you look at their behaviour. There are marked differences in the attitudes, priorities and actions of the 2 generations, and every business from health services to online and mobile casinos will need to understand these in order to maximise their marketing power.
Coming of Age in Different Times
The reason for the distinctions between Generation Y and Generation Z can largely be attributed to the different environments and popular parenting styles that most people grew up with. Generation Z’s parents were from Generation X, but millennials were raised by the baby boomers; parents who believed everyone was special and taught their kids that if they could dream it, they could do it.
Generation X had a more pragmatic parenting style overall, and parents considered themselves more coaches preparing their children for the harsh realities of the world they had to live in than relentlessly positive friends.
Gen Y also remembers what a prosperous economy looks like, so they have felt both more secure and more intensely at sea when that security is lost than Gen Z, for whom a bad economy simply seems normal.
The technology that each generation grew up with is also very different, and the speed at which technological developments occurred was much faster in the childhoods of Generation Z than Generation Y. Gen Z has never lived in a world without constant Internet connectivity, and for a lot of them tablets and smartphones with touchscreens are completely native, and they judge brands on their technological prowess, or lack thereof.
Sharp Contrast Between Generations
The central distinction between Generation Z and Generation Y is that where millennials have more enthusiasm and optimism, Gen Z has more expectation and pragmatism. Millennials were still young when social media platforms exploded, and they still tend to share a lot of their personal lives on Facebook and Twitter. Gen Z has grown up with this, and understands the power of permanent images and information on the Internet. Consequently, they guard their information more closely and favour temporary sharing over Snapchat and similar platforms.
While they are more wary of connectivity than Generation Y is, and favour individuality in brands more, Generation Z also expects smoother and faster technology and works with information differently because of this. The younger generation is better at multi-tasking, but has a much shorter attention span too. Slow connections or information dissemination can feel intolerable to them.
Generation Z also tends to be more frugal than their predecessors. Prosperity was ripped away from Gen Y, making them miss its comforts and grab for them when they can. Gen Z will save a windfall, where Gen Y will spend it. Having said that, they set more store in quality in the things they do purchase.
Attracting Generational Purchasing Power
The constant mobile activity that characterises Generation Z means businesses should consider new advertising methods, and not focus on broadcast television ads. More originally crafted products and individually curated brands will do better with the new generation too, and they’ll enjoy working in different areas within the same company, rather than switching entirely as millennials tend to do.
Smaller, more diverse tasks requiring shorter periods of focus are better for Gen Z, and you can ask them to do more at once. Leave the longer-focus tasks to millennials, as well as group activities. Generation Z has a strong preference for working alone.
Applying these insights should help prepare businesses for the wave of adult Generation Z workers and consumers that will be hitting the marketplace soon.