Young people (aged 21 and younger) account for 27%, just over a quarter, of the total population. To stay relevant in the future we have to understand what their the thoughts, attitudes and skill sets are. What makes this generation unique and what change are they bringing?
Today’s youth is the most ethnically diverse in our nation’s history, with 47% from ethnic minority groups, and the majority of younger generations residing in second and third world countries like India, China and Nigeria (source: Technomic).
Flexible and fluid lifestyles
This group ate the digital natives that are used to a connected world with social media as a widespread platform that allows people to connect from all over the world. By this generation flexibility is demanded between online & offline, male & female, health & pleasure, fast & slow living, openness & privacy.
Identity is fluid
They go against the norm and gender roles and aspire fluid lifestyles. To move away from the stereotypical categories, we are all different instead of, we are all one. So many of them are growing up in ‘non-traditional’ households. For a generation like this, identity is an ongoing project, with many possible outcomes and no end point. Gen Z believes it’s possible to be many things at once.
Teenage entrepeneurs all over the world take the lead in today's new businesses. With global connectedness and so many people online, the opportunities are where there are large amounts of users. Develop apps, launch million-follower vlogs, create fashion collections and form not-for-profit groups. It is an enterprising generation that is changing the face of education, politics, society and the economy as we know it.
The Skate Kitchen collective began as a few mutual friends brought together for Crystal Moselle’s film for Miu Miu and now has grown into an all-encompassing, mixed gender skateboarding family, boasting fans and followers all over the world. Pharrell Williams selected the collective as agenda setters in the creative industry as part of his collaboration with G-Star Raw.
The Gucci Gang is a girl group from Paris taht are gaining notoriety thanks to their effortless style and their carefree, unapologetic attitudes. Like most teenagers, they party, smoke and hang out, the photographer who followed them from club to countryside over the course of a weekend for this shoot. But unlike others their age, they have over 45,000 people watching them Instagram, with their adolescent antics well on the way to gaining them notoriety both online and IRL.
Young people today are the first generation to grow up with less wealth than that of their parents. They have the weight of saving the world, and fixing mistakes made by their ancestors, on their shoulders. They also face the highest ever university fees, after which employment is far from guaranteed. But with today's powerful and accessible tools and a culture whose heroes are innovators and entrepreneurs, they are ready to reshape the world.
This is the first generation to be completely digital and mobile since birth. Information is widely available and widely consumed. Children aged 5 to 16 now spend an average of 6,5 hours a day in front of a screen, whether it be a mobile phone, computer or tablet. Kids have access to a wealth of content and love to watch videos, make videos and play games. For them, YouTube stars are today’s biggest celebrities and something their admirers would love to become. YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram are the social media platforms of today, anticipate what could be next.
An overflow of information can lead to boredom. Attention spans on social are now so short, how to get somebody’s attention within a fraction of a second? Also the online environement is getting more dynamic, for instance in 5 years time 80% of the internet will be online video. The people who understand how to visually communicate, how to engage and how to create original content are more important than ever.
Media today is responding dynamically to the consumer’s attention, engagement and context. Though convenient, personalised search results there is a risk of narrowing our worldview and influencing our thinking. There are worries that we do not get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our individual perspectives on the world. Don't underestimate young people, they might sometimes look passive by spending so much time online, at the same time they want to be well informed and they are willing to act and come with solutions.
Young people love to see originality, they search is for unique things and experiences for them as an individual.
The way you communicate and engage through image and video, visual language is becoming more important. Be bold, challenge and design against type, speed wins from perfection.
Coordinate several voices and harmonise them into new ensembles.
Gen Z is a large group of global young people, as they are entering the work force they are also changing it. Include young people in the conversation and involve them at the grassroots level. Provide them the resources to adopt your brand through their own engagement.