Generation Z Defined: Global, Visual, Digital

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Generation Z: 1995-2009With the oldest Generation Zeds turning 18 in 2013, and the youngest a year away from starting school, here’s an analysis of what defines this global, 21st Century generation.

The world is changing at a rapid pace, and has been transformed in the lifetime of our Gen Zeds. Just five years ago if you said “do you have the latest app? “Did you read that tweet?” “Make that your status update”, “Oh you have an android”, people would wonder what planet you are from. Such is the speed of technological change that while it took almost 90 years for there to be one car in Australia for every person, it’s taken just five years for smart phones to have the same reach!

Click hee to download this report | McCrindle Research

Generation Z: growing up in shifting times

Generation Z are the children and teenagers growing up in these fast-moving, complex times. Aged 3 to 17 years, the youngest of this cohort are about to enter primary school, while the oldest have just put down their pens and exam papers after finishing their final Year 12 exams. There are currently 4.6 million Gen Zs in Australia, and with this generation the learners of today and the employees of tomorrow, understanding what has shaped them, as well as what motivates them, is critical. In light of that, here 7 top trends shaping Generation Z.

7 trends defining Generation Z

1. Demographically changed

Australia is experiencing both an ageing population and a baby boom, with over 300,000 babies born in the last year. Since 1966 Australia’s population has doubled and is now growing by a new Canberra every year. Not only is the population growing, but our households are changing. The nuclear family (parents and children) is still the most common household form (33% of all households), however within a few years, the couple only household will be the most common and with our ageing population, the lone person household has been the fastest growing.

2. Generationally defined

Generations are comprised of people who share a similar age and lifestage, have been shaped during their formative years by similar conditions and technologies and have lived through the same events and experiences which have impacted them. For Generation Z, coming of age in the 21st Century has created a unique generation from the Global Financial Crisis to growing cultural diversity, from global brands to social media and a digital world. Generation Z are the most materially endowed, technological saturated, formally educated generation our world has ever seen.

3. Digital integrators

While all age groups have embraced the digital technologies of the 21st Century, the age at which first utilise the technology determines how embedded it becomes in our lifestyle. We refer to adults as the digital transactors who use technology in a practical, functional, structural way, using the new technology to achieve tasks that they previously used old technology to achieve. However Generation Z are digital integrators in that they have integrated technology seamlessly into their lives, and having used it from the youngest age, it is almost like the air that they breathe, permeating almost all areas of their lifestyle and relationships. Our recent study showed that more than half of Australian young people don’t wear a wristwatch because the smartphone has become the primary device used to tell the time (in addition to being the primary device for getting directions, checking the weather and taking a photo).

4. Globally Focused

Generation Z is the first generation to be truly a global one. Not only are the music, movies and celebrities global for them as they have been for previous generations, but through technology, globalisation and our culturally diverse times, the fashions, foods, online entertainment, social trends, communications and even the “must watch YouTube videos and memes” are global as never before.

5. Visually engaged

At 4.7 billion searches per day, Google is the number one search engine, but with 4 billion YouTube searches a day, YouTube is a close number two. We have an emerging generation, many of whom are opting to watch for a video summarising an issue rather than read an article discussing it. In an era of information overload, messages have increasingly become image based and signs, logos and brands communicate across the language barriers with colour and picture rather than words and phrases. Our analysis of learning styles has shown the dominance in the visual and hands on learning styles above that which traditionally dominated the classroom; the auditory delivery format.

6. Educationally transformed

While the Federal Government has a target of 90% of students completing year 12 by 2015, many schools have already surpassed this. And while the average young person is spending more years in formal education than ever before, with tertiary education rates similarly increasing, for today’s students, education is no longer life-stage dependant (at the start of life, before the career commences), but a life-long reality. Not only have students changed, but also their schools with a shift from a teacher centred to learner adaptive, from content driven to engagement focused and from formal delivery to more interactive environments.

7. Socially defined

More than any other generation, today’s youth are extensively connected to and shaped by their peers. In a recent study by McCrindle Research, it was found that while nearly all the generations had the same amount of close friends (an average of 13); Generations Y and Z had almost twice as many Facebook friends than the older generations. And so, the network that influences them is greater numerically, geographically and being technology based, is connected 24/7. This technology, while helping to facilitate their relational world can also negatively impact it with our research showing that a third of students having been bullied via social networking websites (such as Facebook), instant messaging, text or email.

Australia’s Generation Z, coming of age in the 21st Century, are alive at an amazing time in human history, are living in one of the most amazing places of the 242 countries in the world and being at the start of their lives, they have amazing opportunities, unimaginable just a generation ago. Understandably, very few Generation Zs would swap their lives with any other generation at any other time and in any other place. The challenge for the older generations is to offer the wisdom, guidance and support so that this emerging generation can make a positive difference in their era and for the generations of the future.

Click hee to download this report | McCrindle Research

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


Caregiver child care jobs school commuters speakers pack baby shopping tuesday young australians travelling resource Education Future Forum global generations mentor aged care puzzle case study TDE stats schools population growth global financial crisis mover and shaker easter Sydney HSC community engagement gold coast tv February 16 social commentary forecast Deaths snapshot ultimo not-for-profit water Geoff Brailey Mark McCrindle trends analyst wealth and income distribution sustainable in the media slideshare volunteers menai rising house prices generational trends SMSF non profit product engage urban living James Ward publication FPA NSW Sydney Hills Business Chamber urban taskforce rich social seasons wedding australian communities forum blaxland moreton bay mccrindle tea local entrepreneurs of today Valentine’s Day village IT Specialists SA survey culture narcissism ashley fell local community small business post rationalism data Christmas lunch unaffordable shopper's pick wolloomooloo suburb mobile trades speaker 2016 forecasting focus group mythbusters presentation rule keeper parents "know the times" Australia street online Aussies entrepreneurial anzac ferry communications workplace princess charlotte TAS professional speaker vegetarian sydney hills McCrindle Speakers Queensland: QLD future religion internship know the times careers 2012 spirituality environmental scanning public speaker marriage eliane royal baby norwest infographic wall renting Tuesday Trends toys growing population JOMO healthy future cartodb house price high school leadership culturally diverse property responsive consumerism events dessert ACF 2016 market research real social impact earnings student gen alpha summer mccrindle purpose national private wealth nfp faux-cilising emerging generations Kirsten Brewer research pack visualisation CBD church internet intern huffington post entertainment Research Director Aussie emerging technologies financial affordable conference speaker social researchers ease of travel priorities 2016 census results entrepreneur Melbourne visual Births mother's day year 12 brands Love housing market proactive customer New Zeland state collaborative baby names australia report keynote speaker in depth interviews Christchurch Assistant Store Manager housing trends sector wide skills Macquarie University housing affordability the changing face of resilience household Australian demographics annual income South Australia futurist office opening housing language capital cities Australian schools suburbs housing growth names Gen X hobart mining boom Territory government social researcher trend thrive increasing densification shbc teach pharmacy earning researcher couple car New South Wales poker master community event new york times wealth mateship January 26th personalities commute Australians baby boomers sydney event authenticity sector cancelling plans The Daily Edition Australian Home Australian communities Christmas season sports statistics sydney speaker tips school satisfaction dare to dream hopes brand experience engagement outsourcing greatness budget micro list global train VET trend tuesday youth Northern beaches Event darwin residents wages social analysis baby name predictions ageing population christmas baby boom educhat rental stress manly woolworths conferences breakfast goal experience happiness data analyst men clothing royal influence daily commute sector wide study forum youth unemployment investor online shopping work mates consumer speakers Financial Planning Week professional presenters social commentator demographic transformations grave decision group learner travel apartments curiosity baby names report wealth distribution The ABC of XYZ home owner public holiday population divorce future of shopping DESTEL sydneysider GPO students recap demographic trends media commentary area demographic world youth day future of education REIV Conference Generation X thought leadership generations innovation crows nest fresh 2015 research report staff 1968 rain long weekend Channel Seven moderators guide 1994 safe the hills marrickville australian communities trends report mccrindle in the media showreel twentyseventeen sydney metro sentiments australian social research geomapping demographer Charlotte 40 million communication trends of 2017 Word Up world baby name trends study paying to work hills the hills shire NBRS Architecture media Australian Bureau of Statistics property market aussie culture winter blues society trends workplace culture urban living index sun social change impact cultural diversity learn school students learning styles bondi salary baby names collaboration Andrew Duffin etiquette social enquiry christian workshop eliane miles ipswich professional services social life Australia Day educated growth national crime rates work-life training university communicate average sydneysider townhouses generation alpha infographics cars community life Bathburst financial future 2016 census wellbeing middle class environment spend teaching relational apartment education census data belief public speaking tattoos millennials shopping centre Australian Census participants supply and demand ashley mckenzie conference presentation WA demographics video medicine father's day women Australia Day 2017 Myth hills shire average Australian Wellington future proofing hornsby university degree pharmacies house price rise socialising Scouts parenting celebration social trends income brisbane Vocational education event workforce optus technology Population Clock not for profit business property price change Financial Planning Association faith dream screenage program results perth office economy report Wagga Wagga criminal Northern Beaches Christian School tertiary education Adelaide education research debate teachers investment financial independence follow digital Merry Christmas faux-cilise define motivate teleworking suburban living innovative 2014 future of work households weekly earnings Duchess of Cambridge future-proof vegemite Research Executive emerging trends cica interactive builders New Zealand research services rent English neutral bay graphs World Water Day career high density SRE shifts tableau home ownership ACF pyrmont gender education sector millenials communities employers professional census fail kate middleton schools students Western Australia business index ageing Australian Dream year 7 ethnography panel debt sydneysiders System's Architect cancel plans daily telegraph Generation Y high density apartments deloitte marketing internships social lives charity meetings optus my business awards mythbusting families Northern Territory conference logan personal growth Work place PSI relevant waverton national wealth high density living prince george Hornsby Shire Council alpha stay home work jobs of the future royal 1980 buildings australians staying home more 23 million tea royal family brand winter house #censusfail Hills Shire Council lifestyle cooking micro apartments data visualisation trends marriages Channel 7 trends of 2016 omnibus overcast staying in 24 million gen z population milestone EFF infographic children story acf15 cancelling event Skilling sunny days Wodonga weather research data professional development socialites typical australian unemployment challenge Australian Communities Trends bus cultural diveristy Tasmania sunburnt country insight the great screenage goals Australian Trends transport grandparents Australian Population ideas NBRS baby name analysis young people learning friendship FOMO retirement 2013 millionth click office space Kiwi networking states divorce rate facts organisations 10 years bureau award winner society balance urban census results wealth and income mortgage the australian dream fears sydneycity contiki generation Z owning a home social research google insights Canberra christianity financial dreams Real Estate holiday mccrindle research investing business performance quote media activity renter of the future research visualisation earn Gen Y land of the middle class REIV National Conference the average aussie cold identity Real Estate Institute of Victoria generation living plans 2020 Australian Families rise of local Netflix 24,000,000 local communities friends house prices census 2016 aged care leadership workshop leader qualitative research future proof social issues family 1975 low density cash Sydney keynote speaker megatrends Tuesday Trend population map equip Do It Yourself crime Financial Planning Association of Australia 2017 faux-ciliser domestic new office Res Vis Christmas presents storytelling VIC focus groups research wage keynote ACT SMART VET sector Queensland education future report group session ABS litter census newspaper organisational culture victoria NEETs presentations NT average aussie home offenders cost of living repayments meals food going out selfie energy Northern Beaches employment cost poor finance australia Engineering Manager affordability financial fears changing face of sydney easy rider coffee potts point award monarchy media release optimistic Royals economic cloudy days CPI teacher hello fresh DIY Crime Rates social shifts education future news dreaming google for education survey design Social Trend demography city politics holidays capital city social media lalor park