POSTED BY: Katelynn Spaid

Millennials v Generation Z

10th Oct, 2018
Two women holding their phones

Millennials v Generation Z

They call us Generation Y, The Boomerang Generation, The Peter Pan Generation or more commonly, Millennials. We’re the young adults born between 1981-1996 who have a reputation of being “lazy, entitled, selfish and shallow” (Time Magazine, 2013). For the past decade, Millennials have been the most studied generation in history. But there is a new generation taking the spotlight – Generation Z. Gen Zers were born between 1997-2010. They’re known as the most ethnically diverse and digital savvy generation in history – having grown up not knowing the world without social media.

It’s easy to lump Generation Z in with Millennials, but the reality is they are very different. As Gen Zers enter the workforce as well as having huge spending power, it’s important to understand key differences between the two generations. But I want to remind you not to generalise entire generations based on these characteristics. In fact, Pew Research Center states “generations are a lens through which to understand societal change, rather than a label with which to oversimplify differences between groups.”

Photo cred: ZeroCater

Digital Pioneers v Digital Natives  

Millennials saw first hand how social media influenced the way we communicate. They were pioneers in the digital age witnessing the birth of smartphones, instant messaging and internet search engines. Gen zers were born into this society and have a different perspective. While most Millennials grew up with a family computer in their home, Gen Zers grew up with a computer in their pocket. Millennials grew up with iPods, but Gen Zers grew up with smartphones and tablets. They’re able to constantly be online and stay connected. In fact, 40% of Gen Zers think reliable wifi is more important than reliable toilets.

Attention Span and Multitasking

Gen Zers processes information faster than any other generation. They live in a world of constant updates and having grown up with apps like Vine and Snapchat their attention span is lower. The average attention span of a Gen Zer is 8 seconds – this is down from Millennial’s attention span of 12 seconds. But what Gen Zers lack in attention span they make up in multitasking. They’re champions at watching TV while scrolling through Facebook on a laptop and texting with a friend on Whatsapp.

Expectations and loyalty

Sorry brands, the reality is Gen Zers aren’t as brand loyal as previous generations. Because of social media, customer reviews and being able to research brands online, there is more authentic information than ever. When Gen Zers encounter problems with a brand, they’ll probably never use them again. Millennials, on the other hand, will be more lenient and are more likely to give brands a second chance. Millennials also love their brands and flashy labels – think Hollister t-shirts and the enormous polo player logo on Ralph Lauren shirts. 

Independent v Collaborative  

Gen Zers are more collaborative and live by the phrase “if you want it done right than do it yourself. Gen Zers will be more competitive and adopt a do it myself mindset. 69% of Gen Zers will like to have their own workspace than share it with others. Millennials work better in a collaborative environment – think Mark Zuckerberg’s open-concept office at Facebook. Gen Zers are also seen as more entrepreneurial – 72% say they want to start their own business someday (Huffington Post). They seek uniqueness through brands they do business with to employers they work with. 

Optimist v Pessimist  

Gen Zers are far more optimistic than Millennials. 64% of Gen Zers talk about their financial futures by age 13 and 95% of those feel optimistic about your future. This can be because Millennials have a cognitive memory of traumatic events such as 9/11 and entered the workforce during the height of an economic recession. Millennials are poorer than their parents and encountered a depressed job market after graduating from college and often owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

Shopping Habits

According to Accenture research, Gen Zers love tech-driven and fast shopping experiences like 1 hr delivery, voice-activated shopping and in-store kiosks. Brands are less important and are happy to change retailers who are better at providing these services. They see shopping as a social experience – they ask for friend’s opinions and experiences with products on social media instead of relying on traditional advertising. They can be unforgiving with reviews and are twice as likely to consult Youtube as Millennials before making a purchase. On the other hand, Millenials grew up with dial-up internet and playing Snake on their flip phones. They weren’t born into a world of technology and the world at their fingertips. These technologies are seen as nice inventions instead of as a given necessity for Gen Zers. 


Katelynn Spaid, Social Media Coordinator 

Katelynn Spaid moved to Dublin from Austin, Texas in March 2017 to work as the Social Media Coordinator for Neworld. She received her degree from Texas Tech University in Public Relations and has extensive experience in social media management, content marketing and sales. At Neworld, she has developed an appreciation for branding and its relationship with design effectiveness. She admires the creativity and enthusiasm of her colleagues and is happy to be a part of the show by promoting and celebrating their work.