Gen Z or Zoomers are a unique demographic caught in the intersection of looking back (way, way back) and looking forward. Known as 'the most woke and progressive generation' yet, they care deeply about representation, equality, sustainability, and mental health — and they want the companies and brands they support to care. While the social causes they care about directly impact their coming years, their futures are also more uncertain than any generation before them. To escape the discomfort of this reality, they search for meaning in nostalgic comforts that mesh their love for the past with their desires for the future. Gen Z’s interest in all things vintage stems from their drive to live more sustainably, which can explain the spike in thrift shopping on sites and promoting homegrown small businesses to fight fast-fashion consumerism.
Pre-teen and early teen years mark a time of growing independence, identity development, and self-esteem issues, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. From the workforce to relationships, the survey data indicate that Gen Z was overall hardest hit by the pandemic.
So why is everyone hyping GenZ?
Zoomers are digital natives. It is the first generation for whom the extraordinary technological advancements of the last 20th century are just a usual part of life. They see the same huge changes in technology in their adult lives as Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials have done in theirs – but with their early experiences, Generation Z may well be better able to adapt and cope.
Generation Z is the most insecure because the world they live in has never felt safe. From terrorist attacks to the onset of Covid-19, they have witnessed everything firsthand. They were also born during or just before the 2007 financial crisis and resulting recession. For some, the earliest memories might well include houses being repossessed, family members losing their jobs, and other signs of massive global monetary disruption. In contrast to the lives’ of boomers and millennials, who were both born in times of prosperity and typically didn’t have to face economic downturns and their consequences until they were well into their teens. No wonder Generation Z has a reputation for economizing and alarm in comparison with the generations that forewent them.
Despite such mayhem insecurities they are impressively accepting. The most obvious example is gay rights- GenZ accepts people for what they are and what they want to be. They think that being socially liberal goes without saying. GenZ is a very diverse generation and they’re more likely to be mixed race and hold more than one nationality than their predecessors. They’re also more likely to accept people as they are – including their peers – who are openly transgender. Theirs is a heterogeneous generation, and that’s the way they like it.
Unlike the previous generations, Zoomers are more health-conscious and you’d find most of them hitting the gym or going for a daily run out of regularity to lead a healthy life. They're the generation who are vocal about mental health issues and address them with supreme severity. Previous generations have grown up with assorted bad food habits: the fry-ups of the Baby Boomers, the yo-yo dieting of Generation x and the sugar-filled frappuccinos of the Millennials. And as Generation Z have become teenagers, they’ve continued the healthy streak. They’re much less likely to take up smoking than previous generations, and far more of them drink no alcohol, not even in moderation.
GenZ students crave autonomy in learning. They desire studying that is self-paced, self-directed, and independent with the freedom of what or how they learn. They have grown up in a world that hasn’t always made them feel financially secure, and they’ve taken that on board in their plans for their future careers. They are pragmatic and money-minded. And their goals are optimistic, but not impossible: They don’t plan on becoming billionaires before they’re 30, but they do dream of inventing an app that lets them graduate without debt.
The line between childhood and adulthood is just as unclear for generation Z as it was for their 1950s predecessors but in a different way. GenZ won’t leave education until they’re 18 at least, and a large majority of them will go on to university after that. The number of girls in GenZ having babies as teenagers is likely to be lower than it has been for a hundred years. And as Generation Z has grown up in a world that feels unsafe, they’re unlikely to have enjoyed the freedom to roam by themselves that earlier generations took for granted; they’re also much less likely to own a car or know how to drive one. But GenZ’s awareness of the internet and their privacy means that even as young teenagers, they’re thinking about what they’re saying and how they’re saying it, and even working towards establishing a personal brand online. GenZ might have it relatively hard compared to some of their predecessors, but their strong sense of their self-identity and their perseverance to thrive should see them through.