5 Ways Gen Z’s Childhood Is VERY Different From Yours

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Generations are shaped by the events of their childhood, and Gen Z’s upbringing doesn’t look anything like yours…

Gen Z is entering adulthood. As we’ve defined them, the first of Gen Z was born in 2001, meaning the oldest members of the generation are turning 18 this year. But as they age into new life stages as a generation, and brands pay more and more attention to them, it’s vital to look at how they’ve grown up. We’ve told you some of the things that we’ve learned about the generation in the last year, including that they’re shopping with their morals in mind and that they’ve got a bit of a dark side—but some of the biggest differences between generations are built upon the historical context that each has. For example, Gen Z is showing they’re a more practical group, because they were shaped by the economic hardship of their childhood.

While most Millennials remember a time before the Great Recession, 62% of 13-17-year-olds say they don’t, meaning they grew up with a heightened sense of social and cultural anxiety that Millennials didn’t experience. Frugality is top of mind for them, and they approach shopping and brands with a very different mindset.

But that’s not the only thing that has distinguished this generation's upbringing from those before them. Here are five more ways that Gen Z’s childhood is very different from yours:

1. They’re on Social Media Before They’re Born

A lot of attention is paid to how much time teens are spending on social media, but while Millennials also spent (ok, spend) a huge amount of their time on social platforms, Gen Z has grown up with something unique about their digital presence: they’re the first generation to appear on social media before they’re even born. Parents start posting photos of their kids from the sonogram on, usually before…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies