• Brandminds 2020

108 top insights on Generation X, Y, Z and Alpha

Are you looking to know more about Generation X, Y, Z and Alpha? Read on to discover 108 insights on Generation X, Y, Z and Alpha on several criteria like family values, career, consuming habits, communication, aspirations, fears and challenges, social interactions and psychological profile.

GENERATION X or Gen Xers (1965 to 1980)

Family values – Gex X values work-life balance

1.Gen Xers are family-oriented, financially responsible and self-reliant.

2. They value a healthy balance between time spent at work and personal time and want to pursue their own aspirations.

3. They enjoy leveraging the power of new tech in their adult years, but they also remember what the world was like before the rise of the internet and the digital revolution. In that sense, Gen Xers are the generation who transitioned from analogue to digital.

4. People born in the late 1970s – early 1980s are the latchkey generation or the MTV generation because they learned to entertain themselves in the hours between coming home from school and parents coming home from work.

5. Growing up in the 80s, with the largest divorce rate in history, a big number of the Gen X cohort grew up with a divorced parent.

6. While Gen Xers may not have had a great relationship with their parents growing up, now, in their adult years, they see their parents as older friends.

7. As parents, Gen Xers vowed to avoid making the same mistakes as their parents and learned to do better in the relationship with their children.

8. Gen Xers marry later in life, once their careers and finances are more established and stable. They divorce less (36%) than their parents (48%) but more than Millennials (26%) (source).

Education – Gen Xers are eager to learn

9. The members of Gen X are often noted as prioritizing self-directed educational opportunities and programs that enable them to learn on their own schedule.

10. They have benefited from traditional education by attending in-classroom lessons and writing on the blackboard. The internet and the digital revolution led to the rise of new jobs requiring new skills.

11. Gen Xers are the first generation to acknowledge, sometimes with sadness, that their formal education is no longer enough. They are the first to embody the growth mindset and live out the adapt or die concept.

12. Xers want to keep moving forward by developing a wide variety of skills that keep them employable.

13. The members of Gen X are prioritizing continuous learning in the form of microlearning. According to this survey, almost 37% said it was very important that the hiring company provide training to update their skills and/or knowledge.

Career – Gen Xers work to live, not live to work

14. Gen Xers are financially stable, are at their highest-earning years and are on their way to reaching the top of their profession. Making smart decisions for their family’s safety and financial future is very important to them (source).

15. Gen Xers believe that you need to plan your career, or you might not have one. What can Gen Xers offer employers? A wealth of knowledge, experience and stability. What are Gen Xers expecting from employers? Development opportunities and leaders who exemplify the company’s values with their actions.

Consuming habits – Gen Xers are looking for discounts and loyalty programs

16. Gen Xers grew up before Amazon and the online shopping experience. However, they have now fully embraced e-commerce although they still enjoy an in-store shopping trip.

17. They are known to conduct online research at home and then shop in person, while their younger counterparts conduct research on their phones, in the store. They turn to Google to direct their purchasing decisions.

18. They’re also known to be very loyal customers with a high appreciation for value discounts and loyalty programs. They read product reviews, expect great customer service and are moved by nostalgia-based marketing.

19. The preferred social media platform of Gen Xers is Facebook where they connect with family and friends. Although highly tech-reliant, the members of Gen X are considered digitally conversant, but not digitally native.

20. Gen Xers buy products that are unique and high-quality, as opposed to Generation Y and Z who buy based on community and value (source).

Communication – 55% of Gen Xers use WhatsApp

21. Gen X was the first generation to incorporate digital technology in their youth. Generation X prefers receiving and using short, brief messages as opposed to lengthy ones (source).

22. The ability to utilize forms of digital technology enables Generation X to connect with younger people, such as Millennials or Generation Z.

23. They appreciate informal and flexible communications with 55% using WhatsApp.

Aspirations/Fears/Challenges – The average successful startup founder is a Gen Xer

24. The average age of a successful startup founder is 45 per this study, which makes the younger members of Gen X the most entrepreneurial of all generations.

25. Gen Xers fear not being adequately prepared for major leadership roles and not having time for their families and personal lives (source).

26. They fear being overlooked and replaced by Millennials in the workplace. They also fear they are not as prepared for retirement as their parents were. One of their goals is to become debt-free.

Psychological profile – Gen Xers don’t let negative feedback stop them

27. Gen Xers are independent, flexible, self-reliant critical thinkers. They are technologically adept, flexible and highly educated.

28. The members of Gen X are resourceful since they have been accustomed to caring for themselves and younger siblings since before reaching adulthood.

29. They value freedom and responsibility and try to overcome challenges on their own (source).

30. Generation X is more direct than the members of the other generations. They embrace feedback and don’t get hung up on negative feedback like the Millennials.

GENERATION Y or Millennials (1981 to 1995)

Family values – My child is one of my best friends

31. Millennials want different lives than their parents. On average, they have delayed or forgone marriage than previous generations and have been somewhat slower in forming their own households (source).

32. According to this report, when Millennials become parents, they take on a more intimate, less hierarchical role with their children than parents of previous generations. To that end, they want an open, honest dialogue with their children. In fact, nearly 8 out of 10 millennial parents agree that their child is one of their best friends.

33. For 95% of Millennial workers, finding a work/life balance is important.

Education – Skill development is crucial for the Millennial’s career

34. A greater number of Millennials have received a university education than the members of Generation X, meaning they can obtain higher-paid roles earlier in their careers.

35. 93% of Millennials find skill development crucial for their career.

Career – Money, security and time-off

36. Millennials are the largest generation in the modern workforce and are making more money than the workforce as a whole.

37. An increasing number of them are reaching executive and director level and have more cash coming in than ever before (source).

38. The next most successful entrepreneur behind the Gen Xer is the Millennial. Per this report, 84% of Millennials revealed that they are more satisfied as an entrepreneur than when they worked for someone else.

39. When they are not starting their own business, Millennials work full-time. According to stats, 73% of Millennials have full-time jobs. However, employed Millennials still look for getting a little extra money. 28% of employed millennials reported having a side hustle, and 61% of them made extra money on a weekly basis. 75% of Millennials prefer working from home and working remotely.

40. What do Millennials prioritize when looking for a job? Money, security and time-off.

Consuming habits – Millennials desire “experiences over things”

41. Millennial consumers are the largest generation and hold the most spending power – with a projected $1.4 trillion tab (source). Millennial high earners are those raking in at least $100,000 a year.

42. Some of this cohort had saved up to $3,000 a month during lockdown last year and now they are looking to spend big on travel. Millennials comprise the highest rate of luxury bookings (trips costing at least $5,000).

43. The consumption habits of Millennials are driven by their values or morals.

44. According to this survey, the top three goals for Millennials with a financial plan are debt repayment (57%), travel (48%) and increasing the amount they save for retirement (45%).

Social relationships – Millennials believe in changing communities

45. The millennial generation is conscious at all levels.

46. They want to save their money and invest in a socially responsible manner because they believe in changing communities. They are more racially and ethnically diverse, which has helped them support and fight for equality and human rights.

47. Millennials care most about civil rights/racial discrimination, healthcare, education, and employment (source).

Communication – Millennials like infotainment

48. 41% of Millennials prefer electronic communication. They are always on social media communicating and engaging in conversations that resonate with their interest.

49. Millennials appreciate authentic and fast communications with a preference for using text, chat, email and Instagram; they value efficiency and a digital-first approach.

50. Social media platforms are where Millennials receive their news and other important information.

51. Millennials are less likely to trust and show loyalty to companies that sound corporate and generic. They prefer brands that look, act, and sound friendly, cheeky, and personable.

52. Millennials are influenced by infotainment — content that both entertains and informs. If a brand engages with a millennial on a social network, the millennial is 62% more likely to become a loyal customer.

Aspirations/Fears/Challenges – Millennials are looking for purpose and fear failure

53. Millennials want to do something with their life other than just earn a living. They are interested in the problems of the world, like climate change, animal extinction, and GMOs.

54. They want to get involved and find their purpose by being inspired by the change they want to make (source). Six in 10 millennials say that a “sense of purpose” is part of the reason they chose their current employer (source).

55. The Top 3 goals of Millennials according to Statista are owning their own home, financial stability and travelling.

56. Millennials expect to lead a more balanced life than previous generations. Private life and leisure activities are very important to them. They believe that to be good at work, they need to be happy in their life.

57. Their greatest fears related to work-life are getting stuck with no development opportunities (40%), not realizing their career goals (32%) and not finding a job that matches their personality (32%).

Psychological profile – Looking for a healthy lifestyle

58. More Millennials consider mental and physical health an essential expense than did baby boomers and Gen Xers (source)

59. Compared to the previous generation, Millennials focus on larger societal needs rather than individual needs.

60. Travelling the world is the highest priority for 57% of Millennials.

61. Millennials care about experiences (they expect genuine and incredible experiences and want to build lasting memories), values and purpose.

62. Studies show that millennials are leading the way when it comes to developing a healthy lifestyle and making good choices.

GENERATION Z or Gen Zers (1996 to 2009)

Family values – Gen Zers are influencing family decisions

63. Kids and teens today are members of Generation Z or Gen Zers. They grow up in a single-parent or dual-income household. But whether or not they live in a traditional family, parents of Gen Zers have less time. They often rely on their children to help them make purchase decisions.

64. Given the members of Generation Z have 24/7 access to information thanks to social media and a natural inclination to learn and explore, most parents happily delegate product research to their offspring.

65. What decisions does Gen Zers influence? Fast food restaurants and breakfast foods for their families, followed by snack and lunch foods, recreational activities, in-home entertainment and vacation destinations (source).

Education – On track to be the most well-educated generation

66. Members of Generation Z are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet and also more likely to have a college-educated parent than are previous generations of young people.

67. Because of this, they are more likely to be engaged in educational endeavours for a longer period of time than previous generations when they were teens and young adults (source).

68. They are also the first digital natives.

Career – Failure helps Gen Zers learn and grow

69. The most in-demand job that Gen Z job seekers are applying to is software engineer followed by software developer.

70. Gen Zers are aspiring to work in tech — the majority of job applications from Gen Zers were for companies in the tech industry, followed by business services, finance and retail. IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Deloitte are the top five companies that Gen Z are applying to. As digital natives, the members of Generation Z are drawn to search for jobs at tech companies.

71. What is Generation Z looking for when searching for a tech job? Good work environment, flexible hours, free food and company discount (source)

72. This generation prioritizes job security.

73. One refreshing aspect of Generation Z workers is their attitude about failure. While most other generations view failure as something to avoid, members of Generation Z are energized by failure.

74. According to one study, 80% of Generation Z sees failure as something to embrace on their way to more innovation and learning within a project. In fact, failure helps them learn and grow (source)

75. Gen Z is rapidly becoming known as the most entrepreneurial generation ever, with 62% of Gen Zers indicating they have started—or intend to start—their own business.

Consuming habits – Gen Zers’ purchasing decisions reflect their values and identity

76. They are shrewd consumers. As consumers, Gen Z rely on their tech savvy and extensive social networks to make informed purchasing decisions.

77. Their pragmatism leads them to explore and evaluate a range of options before settling on a product.

78. They also look at their purchasing decisions as an expression of their values and identity. As an example, they are drawn to sustainable products and brands — and are often willing to pay more for them.

79. They value personalized products, and they are drawn to brands who share their point of view on political issues (source).

80. Members of Generation Z spend more money than Millennials and are more than happy to browse in-store instead of online.

81. Material value may hold stronger resonance with Gen Z, as “Gen Z seems to be more drawn to things than the Millennials are, and they are keen to buy apparel and fashion accessories for themselves.”

Social relationships – Video and virtual dating are important to Gen Zers

82. When it comes to relationships, Generation Z is fully aware of what they want and do not want and have a general understanding of “toxic” traits they refuse to overlook. Unlike past generations, it is important for Gen Z to have a deeper emotional connection with their partner. Here are some statistics per this survey:

83. 21% of Gen Zers say a texting conversation can count as a date.

84. 51% say video and virtual dating are important.

85. 65% say dating websites and apps allow them to date someone outside of where they live.

86. 85% use YouTube.

87. Gen Z turns to YouTube to learn something.

88. 84% said they feel overwhelmed by the work and activities they have to do and turn to YouTube to decompress.

Communication – Gen Zers express their emotions through emojis

89. Generation Z appreciates visual communications with a preference for using face-to-face.

90. Their favourite social platforms are Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok and FaceTime.

91. They value video, voice command and a mobile-only approach.

92. Surprisingly, over 70% of Gen Z want to communicate face-to-face at work. They will continue to weave in and out of the digital channels they are accustomed to while seeking more face-to-face encounters.

93. 83% of Gen Z users are more comfortable expressing their emotions through emojis than a phone call, compared to Millennials (71%), Gen X (61%).

94. Roughly half of Gen Z adults (49%) get most of their news from social media. Gen Z adults are more likely to use digital-first news publications such as Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail on a weekly basis, relative to older Americans.

Aspirations/Fears/Challenges – Important life goals of Gen Zers: making money and having a successful career

95. 70% of Gen Z adults say making money and having a successful career are the two most universally important life goals – more than pursuing friends, family, or hobbies.

96. Gen Z adults are more likely to define themselves by what they do, rather than who they are.

97. 23% of Gen Zers say being famous is important to them – eight points higher than Millennials and 15 points higher than Gen X.

Psychological profile – Mental health challenges and feeling responsible to shape a better future for all

98. Members of Gen Z are more likely than older generations to look to the government to solve problems, rather than businesses and individuals.

99. Mental health challenges are a sad characteristic of Generation Z, which has been referred to by some as the “loneliest generation,” as their endless hours spent online can foster feelings of isolation and depression.

100. Additionally, many young people fall prey to the “compare and despair” trap that social media presents.

101. Gen Z kids also find their mental health affected by the turbulent state of the world. As political activism among Gen Z has increased, many Gen Z-ers have internalized the unrest surrounding issues like gun control, police brutality and climate change — leading to increased levels of stress.

102. Early signs indicate that they will grow into engaged, conscientious stewards of our world — by being socially-minded, independent thinkers, who recognize their responsibility in shaping a more equitable future for all (source).

GENERATION ALPHA (2010 to 2024)

103. Born to Millennial parents, Generation Alpha have a digital footprint before they can even walk. Celebrity kids like Prince William’s son George already have Instagram accounts, managed by their parents. Screens are placed in front of them from the youngest age as pacifiers, entertainers and educational aids.

104. Generation Alpha is the first group who will be immersed in technology their entire lives. These kids are also referred to as the Glass Generation as their glass-fronted devices will be their main medium of communication.

105. Alpha kids are expected to have a strong influence on the shopping behaviour of their Millennial parents, who are willing to spend a lot on their children.

106. Businesses will have to adapt to radically new ways of interacting and communicating with Alphas, compared to their parents.

107. Generation Alpha’s consumer experience will have to be seamless and integrated, with a personalised online experience. This will provide new opportunities for marketers.

108. They will stay in education longer, start their earning years later and so stay at home with their parents later than even their predecessors, Gen Z and Gen Y (source)

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