Understanding Generation Z

Jun 30, 2020 | 4  min
author Bonnie Horner

In today’s world, the younger generations account for a majority of the global workforce. When it comes to delving deeper into the digital world and appealing to the masses, it’s crucial to know what characteristics the younger generations possess in order to market to them effectively. The past few years businesses have focused on Millennials, but the newest generation, and arguably the most influential audience, in today’s digital world is Generation Z. Those included within this generation have truly never known a world without the internet or wireless technology, and are therefore changing the digital experience and resetting business expectations.

What is Generation Z?

While there tends to be some disagreement about the Generation Z years, most would say this group was born between 1997-2015, making the current Generation Z age range between 7-25 years old. Most in this young generation have no memory of a world before 9/11, but they have lived through the recession of 2008, and currently are experiencing life in a COVID-19 haze. These forces of unrest have had, and continue to have, a significant impact on this generation, how they view the world, and how they interact with online media.

Understanding the Gen Z Difference

To tackle how Generation Z exists in our digital world differently, we must first recognize what makes up the rest of today’s population.

The Silent Generation, also known as the Traditionalists, were born during the period of 1925-1942. The Silent Generation grew up in times of crisis, teaching them the value of diligent saving and hard work. While this generation may use some forms of social media, their preferred channels for consuming media would be via print or TV.

Baby Boomers were born during the period of the “baby boom” after WWII, from 1945 to 1964. This generation grew up in a war torn time without much technology to back them up. However, as they have grown with the digital age, most Baby Boomers are becoming more accustomed to digital media. Therefore, you will most likely be able to reach a boomer consumer through television ads, direct mail, social media ads, and email marketing.

Generation X includes those born during the reconstruction period of life after the war, between 1965 and 1981. The lives of Generation X have not been easy either, as finding work after a period of upheaval proved to be difficult for many. Gen X is known for their philosophy of working and producing and are full of individualism and ambition – the workaholic type. Similar to their predecessors, Generation X tends to consume media that presents itself in a more authentic way via social media, direct mail, or email marketing.

Millennials, or Generation Y, are also known as the digital native types. Millennials were born between 1982 and 1994 making the current Millennial age range between 26-37 years old. This generation took on the digital age as they began to enter the workforce, becoming the forefront marketing leaders within our current digital age. When it comes to media consumption, Millennials are a bit different from prior generations. As a media oriented generation, these folks want “snackable”, easy to digest content, and can mostly be reached via social media or email tactics

Tech-Driven Youth

What are the Generation Z characteristics? Generation Z is the generation after Millennials, meaning they are the first generation to be entirely raised within the age of the internet. Their mastery of technologies allows them to fight for big change, giving more of a voice to social causes on the platforms they grew-up using. Gen Zers definitely struggle with the concept of instant gratification; however our digital narrative is taking on that tone naturally. This multitasking generation follows a course of independence and digital creativity, paving the way for new jobs that have yet to exist in our world. 

Gen Z Consumers

Today, it seems like we can’t survive extended periods of time without our smartphones. Streaming content comes as easily as pouring a cup of coffee, and everyone’s digital narrative dictates more than we know. All of this is to say, we can expect today’s digital world to change thanks to Generation Z. They’re tech-savvy, socially charged, and expected to account for 40% of all digital customers. Experts have even gone as far to say that Generation Z is on their way to becoming one of the most powerful consumer forces in our market today, as their buying power currently stands at $44 billion and expands to $600 billion, considering parental influence.

Marketing Strategy with Gen Z

As Generation Z continues to enter the workforce, digital marketers must become more aware of the needs and desires of this technologically-driven crowd. With all this information about Gen Z, companies and marketers are reconsidering how they are positioning their brand in the eyes of tomorrow’s leaders.

Gen Z is taking charge and making big changes within the digital world. Watch the video recording as Pyxl and WP Engine reveal the results from WP Engine’s 2020 Gen Z Report. In this video we discuss what influences Generation Z is making in today’s business environment, and strategies to effectively market to the generation leading the future of our global economy.

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

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