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 play [games] constantly until 4 in the morning. When I’m not on my game I’m checking my phone. And the whole time I’m doing all of that my desktop is on the internet.”—Male, 22, OH

Twitch is airing every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in celebration of the late Fred Rogers’ 90th birthday and the show’s 50th anniversary. The esports streaming service is expanding to nostalgia entertainment (which young viewers can’t get enough of), but they have a unique twist. The show will be available for co-viewing, with popular Twitch streamers chiming in from time to time. (Mashable)

Over one-third of 18-34-year-olds have stopped using a brand after hearing negative news about them, more than any other generation. Among the brands that most consumers said they gave up on were Wells Fargo, Target, Papa John’s, and Uber. However, Critical Mix and kNOW also found that young consumers are more willing to forgive a brand for bad press: While only 30% of consumers overall would use a brand again after a scandal, 41% of 25-34-year-olds would. (MediaPost)

Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back VHS—offering free rentals for Millennials that wax nostalgic for analog products. Their first store, Video Vortex, is opening in North Carolina. Not only are they “fostering a movie-loving community” with the extensive gratis collection of 75,000 titles, but they’re making money off of the added “beer, food, and merchandise.” No VHS player? No problem. They’re renting those as well. (BoingBoingEW)

Researchers were surprised to find Gen Z students were “relieved” to ditch their smartphones for a few weeks. Screen Education’s study of 62 12-16-year-olds found that 92% thought “it was beneficial” to disconnect from their smartphones while they were at camp. And even though 41% admitted they felt frustrated at times, 35% were able to cut down their use after camp and 17% convinced a friend to curb their time spent on smartphones, too. (PR Newswire)

Beauty brands love augmented reality, but an app can’t replace in-store experience. Not only did Ypulse found time and again that young consumers expect Experiencification and flock to marketing activations (like pop-ups), but brick-and-mortar locations build loyalty. People think they’re scamming Sephora when they re-do their makeup gratis, but that time-spent-in-store is really “turning the ‘scammers’ into buyers.” (Quartzy)

"I love my smart phone. It is just like my best friend [and] I just can't do without my smartphone...”—Male, 27, CA

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