So who is Generation Z? They grew up in a post 9/11 world during a recession. They’ve experienced radical changes in technology and understandings of family, sexuality and gender. They live in multi-generational households, and the fastest growing demographic within their age group is multi-racial. But there are five defining characteristics that everyone should know.
I know some are still trying to catch up with Busters, or Generation X, or whatever we called those who followed the Boomers. Or maybe you leapfrogged over all that straight to Generation Y (Millennials), on whom marketers have been focused for at least a decade. I could tell you there are actually six living generations in America, but I don’t want to add to your stress.
Let me save you some time: Drop everything and start paying attention to Generation Z, who now constitutes 25.9% of the U.S. population. That’s more than Millennials (24.5%). That’s more than Gen X (15.4%). Yes, that’s even more than Baby Boomers (23.6%). By 2020, they will account for 40% of all consumers. Generation Z will not simply influence American culture, as any generation would, they will constitute its culture.
So who falls into Generation Z? There’s still some debate on exact dates, but essentially it involves those who were born after Generation Y – so approximately 1995 to 2010. It is the generation that is now collectively under the age of 25.
Some would argue that everyone born from, say, 1980 to the early 2000s are one giant cohort known as Millennials. It’s true that such a grouping would be unified under a technology revolution, but as the research of Bruce Tulgan notes, “This time frame is simply too broad to define just one generation because the 1990s and the 2000s are two distinct eras.”