Catching up with generation Z

by Michelle Defooz - October 04, 2017

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Our lives are changing at the speed of tech. Yet, we are still concerned about the generational differences around us. Are such insights worth our time or are they distracting us from more important matters?

A few months ago, I was asked to do some research on teenagers and their ambitions. Within a few moments Google suggested some articles on Gen Z. Here I am months later still struggling with everything I have read on millennials and the new “promised” generation.

Dozens of articles and studies suggest everybody forget the millennials and focus on Gen Z. As I kept on reading I found out that Gen Z is bigger, better, bolder and not to forget “changing the world”.

Gen Z, born between approximately 1995 and 2010, of which the youngest recently entered primary school and the oldest slowly finishing university. These two currents are living their lives at a different pace. The same contradiction counts for the millennials (born after 1984)  of which some already started a family and others recently begantheir careers.

Apparently, millennials being “tech savy” was one of the lies they told the world. Gen Z is the actual generation born with technology at their fingertips. Although I remember a 3-year-old in 1995 perfectly using the Task Manager window after pressing ctrl+alt+delete because Windows failed her miserably.
How digitally literate can you be after being stuck in your mother’s womb for 9 months? Don’t we all need to learn how to manage technology?
Also detached from our generation, aren’t we all incorporating our high-tech and networked world?

Kantar Millward Brown stated in their recent “Adreaction” study that Gen X, Y and Z respond similarly to ads. The difference lies in the media they use and the advertising techniques we use through these different media.
In the same study it is stated that 37% of Gen Z likely want their ads short (less than 10 seconds) and therefore messages should be bite-sized. Likewise, 34% of Gen Y and 33% of Gen X are positive to ads of 10 seconds or less.

GWI on their part states Gen Z is more likely to block ads on their desktop. But in 2016 GWI released their global ad-blocking figures stating, 40% of internet user between 16-64 block ads.
There are more similarities between generations instead of differences.

Generation studies are merely fragments of people’s lives and not exhaustive studies over time.
In my opinion, we are all driven through our high-tech and networked world, not through age. Our preferences change at the speed of tech.
Therefore, we should focus on the impact of this new world on all of our generations and the emergence of new digital habits with them.

Born in 1992 I belong to one of the last relics of what is called “The lost generation”, nevertheless ambitious to make relevant, engaging, and inspiring content in this digital landscape.
Don’t we all?!

Michelle Defooz

Junior Strategic Planner