Acumen Insights

What Separates Gen Z from Other Generations?

By March 20, 2017 No Comments

Research by Barkley examined the behaviors, attitudes, and motivations of a portion of Gen Z (those aged 15-19) compared to other generations. The results revealed key insights that separate Gen Z:

They want to work for their success, not be discovered. Independence and personal success are very important to this generation. Over half of Gen Z respondents reported that personal success is the most important thing in their life. This is 10 percent higher than Millennials. They were the most likely generation (69 percent) to believe that becoming successful has little or nothing to do with luck. This generation was also the one that placed most emphasis on winning individual awards (over 40 percent). Achievement is so important in their lives that Gen Z respondents ranked grades in school (over 80 percent) as more important than hanging out with friends (over 60 percent) and social media (over 40 percent).

They believe that equality is non-negotiable. Gen Z respondents are similar to Millennials in that they place high value on equality as an important social issue. The following types of equality were ranked as important social issues by Gen Z respondents: racial equality (72 percent), gender equality (64 percent), and sexual orientation equality (48 percent). Their views on equality carry over into their views on advertising. Approximately 60 percent reported that they like to see ads that show diverse types of families. Over 70 percent reported liking ads that show real people and not just gendered stereotypes.

They want brands to be real so they can be unique. Gen Z respondents pride themselves in being unique. When asked how they would like others to view them, a third reported they wanted to be considered unique.  Because of this, approximately half of the respondents said they would pay extra for a product that is consistent with the image they want to convey. Gen Z respondents also want more reality in advertising than the oldest generations. Over 70 reported liking ads that show real people in real situations. Similarly, over 70 percent reported not liking ads that make life look perfect.

They have their own system of rules and etiquette for how they use social media. For Gen Z respondents, each social media platform serves a different purpose. Facebook is still primarily used amongst Millennials (87 percent) but 77 percent of Gen Z respondents still use Facebook regularly. Rather than posting and engaging, however, they are more likely to scroll though content for informational purposes only. Approximately 45 percent of Gen Z respondents use Twitter compared to 34 percent of Millennials. For Gen Z users, Twitter is used to get information right now. Gen Z leads in Instagram usage with 63 percent using the platform while only 47 percent of Millennials do so. Instagram is used by Gen Z to create aspirational versions of themselves through creativity and editing. Gen Z respondents also lead in Snapchat usage with 61 percent using the platform while only 34 percent of Millennials use it. Gen Z respondents use this app for picture storytelling—to tell their friends exactly what they are doing in the moment.