If you have been struggling with how to understand the “Millennial” generation you may want to sit down for this; Generation Z has arrived. That according to a fascinating article, “Generation Z Is A Complete Nightmare for Retailers,” brought to my attention by Carter Keithly, President of the Toy Industry Association. Carter thought it was important and I do too.
The article, written by Hayley Peterson and published by Business Insider, makes the point that this is the first generation in modern time to not have brand loyalty. That is a fascinating point but before considering it, let’s take a minute to consider just who this generation is.
Deciding when generations start and stop is not an exact science so there is some over-lapping based upon whom you read. So, here is where the previous generation fit according to CNN:
- Baby Boomers (born anywhere from 1943 through 1964)
- Generation X (born anywhere from 1961 through 1981)
- The Millennial Generation (sometimes called Generation Y) (born anywhere from 1982 through 2004)
That’s why the article by Business Insider article is a bit confusing because it pegs Generation Z as anyone born after 1990. I found this date in several other articles and they all seem to be emanating from the ad agency, Sparks & Honey.
It feels a bit like the Millennials are being rushed off the stage by Sparks & Honey; that their time as influencers is already over. After all, in their slide share, the agency starts by stating: “Forget everything you learned about the Millennials.”
They may be right but what appears to be happening here is not so much the rise of a new generation but the rebranding of an older one. If you move everyone born after 1990 then the Millennial generation becomes a pitifully small group born between 1982 and 1989.
What Sparks & Honey maybe be really intuiting is that in a world of such rapid change, even generations are briefer which means Z may have a short time span as well.
In my next posting we talk about why some consumer products companies are being cautioned to beware Generation Z.