Where Young People Stand On Religion, In 5 Stats

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

After years of stories about Millennials “turning their backs on religion,” we’ve got the truth about the religious beliefs of 13-35-year-olds today…

Millennials have been called the least religious generation to date for about as long as they’ve been able to pick up a bible, and it’s been expected that Gen Z will join the older gen’s atheist ranks—recent articles have claimed that “Atheism Doubles Among Generation Z” and offered to explain “Why Generation Z is less Christian than ever.” And while the story has long been that all these young consumers are flocking away from organized religion and into the more amorphous moniker of “spirituality,” that line of thinking seemed to reach a fever pitch this year as new headlines about Millennials stirred up the idea that they have begun to devote themselves to psychics, horoscopes, and star charts en masse. MarketWatch’s piece, “Why Millennials Are Ditching Religion For Witchcraft And Astrology,” made the case that the generation is interested in more spiritual practices, including the occult and strong beliefs in birth signs, in lieu of religion. Inc.’s “Millennials Are Giving Up On God. This is What They're Reaching For Instead” and more articles of the same nature soon followed. But these catchy headlines don’t necessarily capture the full story of the increasing interest in the mystical—as we explored in our recent trend Practical Magic—nor does it capture their true feelings about religion. As in years past, the idea that Millennials and Gen Z are “turning their backs” on religion is an oversimplification of their beliefs. In fact, just four in 10 13-35-year-olds agree that organized religion is a thing of the past.

To get a better understanding of the generation’s relationship with religion and spirituality, our recent survey asked…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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