Who Is Generation Z and Why Should We Be Worried?

Generation 4
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:

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.





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