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Undergrads to Second Graders:

The Pew Center for Research designates those born between the years of 1997 and 2012 as belonging to Generation Z. This means that the youngest are now 7 and the oldest are 22. It also means that the vast majority of undergraduate college students belong to Generation Z, so if you have college students as one of your target demographics, it’s a good idea to start learning about this group, now.

What does Generation Z Want?

What does Generation Z Want? Every generation brings new energy, new habits, and new desires to the market. Generation Z is now officially a force in the world, and it is time to start thinking about how to engage with them. What are their concerns? What are their unique strengths? What do they want?

Three Big Influences:

The 2008 recession, social and mobile media, and social justice in a multicultural world. These three factors have an influence on the character of Generation Z. In this first part we will look at some of the economic differences.

Economically Conservative:

The oldest members of this generation were 11 in 2008. In his essay entitled “8 Ways Gen Z Will Differ From Millenials in the Workplace,” Deep Patel writes that they “were still kids during the Great Recession, which means that they may have seen their parents take huge financial hits. A significant portion of their lives may have been defined by struggles related to that.” There is a connection between the economic times and the forming of a generation’s character and these young people have a large dose of financial insecurity as part of their childhood.

Young Entrepreneurs:

One way to see this effect is in a shift towards pragmatism, most notably in the rise of entrepreneurship. According to Deep Patel writing for Forbes, “Generation Z is 55% more likely to want to start a business than millennials. In fact, a full 72% of Gen Z high school students say that they want to start a business.” In their business orientation, Gen Z would rather spend their time and energy making money than pursuing prestigious goals.

Frisbee Freebees:

Their frugality makes sampling especially appealing as a way to market to them. Give them items like a branded frisbee that they will keep and use. High on fun, low on cost, giving them freebies can create an amplification of your branding. One Gen’s swag is another Gen’s treasure. Gen Z may also be open to discounts and deals of all stripes.

Since this generation will soon become the largest consumer population in the US, it is likely that we will be learning about who they are for some time to come.

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