Gen Z’s Top 10 Personal Goals Show How Pragmatic They Are

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

We asked members of the youngest generation what their current personal goals are today—and their responses reveal where their focus is…

Gen Z is at a pivotal time—preparing to enter adulthood. As we’ve defined them, the first of Gen Z was born in 2001, meaning the oldest members of the generation are now 17-years-old. And, not surprisingly considering their current ages, this generation’s current focus is all about school. For previous generations, that may have meant that their primary concerns were as much about clothing and cliques as college, but Gen Zs have always been a little more practical in their approach to life. 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 Gen Zs, and while many Millennials went into college with a sense that everything would work out in the end (only to be met with mounting debt and unpaid internships on the other side), Gen Zs have been raised with a healthy dose of caution.

While this does indicate a lack of confidence in the school-to-career-to-success pipeline may be brewing, it doesn’t mean Gen Zs are forgoing that traditional path. In fact, in our recent survey on life milestones, we asked some of Gen Z (13-17-year-olds) to name the biggest personal goal they are currently working towards,* and their top responses indicate just how focused they are on education and career:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of goals that Gen Z says they’re working on—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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