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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Marketing to Gen Z market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Generation Z follows in Millennial footsteps
  • The digital world is second nature to them
  • They are stressed out

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Gen Z teens are aged 12-17
  • Gen Z adults are aged 18-24

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Kristen Boesel, a leading analyst in the Lifetstyles and Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Generation Z is growing up. They are focused on the future and feel tremendous pressure to succeed. They are close to their parents and still rely on them financially, but are optimistic about their future careers. They are more into social media and video games than older generations, and marketers may need to shift focus to these platforms to reach them effectively Kristen Boesel
Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definitions
      • Executive Summary

        • Market Overview
          • Figure 1: US population by generation, 2018
        • Takeaway 1: Generation Z follows in Millennial footsteps
          • Figure 2: Gen Z Adults’ Generational Perceptions, March 2019
        • Opportunities
          • Takeaway 2: The digital world is second nature to them
            • Figure 3: Social media use among Generation Z adults, March 2019
            • Figure 4: Selected favorite activities by generation, March 2019
          • Opportunities
            • Takeaway 3: They are stressed out
              • Figure 5: Top stressors for members of Generation Z, March 2019
            • Opportunities
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • A more diverse generation is coming of age
                  • Members of Gen Z span two very different life stages
                    • Money is tight
                      • They’re defined by digital
                        • A generation under pressure
                        • Generation Z by the Numbers

                          • iGeneration rechristened Generation Z in 2019
                            • Generation Z represents about 55 million Americans
                              • Figure 6: US population by generation, 2018
                            • A diverse generation
                              • Figure 7: US Generation Z population by race and Hispanic origin, 2018
                            • Young adult lifestyle puts milestones farther down the road
                              • Few Gen Z adults have spouses or kids
                                • Figure 8: Marital and parental status among Generation Z adults, March 2019
                              • Most Gen Z adults live with others
                                • Figure 9: Number of adults in households of Generation Z adults, November 2018
                            • Generation Z’s Financial Situation

                              • Teens and money
                                • Most Gen Z teens rely on parents for spending money
                                  • Figure 10: Weekly teen income from allowance or chores, 2018
                                  • Figure 11: Percentage of teens who ask their parents for money, March 2019
                                • Allowance via app
                                  • Figure 12: Screenshot of Current website, April 2019
                                • Working teens
                                  • Few teens start working before they turn 18
                                    • Figure 13: Weekly teen income from paying job, 2018
                                  • Disparities in saving for college
                                    • Figure 14: Percentage of teens who are saving money for college, across demographics, March 2019
                                  • Americans see college as the key to future financial success
                                    • Figure 15: Percentage who agree a degree is needed to get a good job, by generation, March 2019
                                  • More than one third of Gen Z adults are college students
                                    • Figure 16: College enrollment among adults aged 18-24, 1977-2017
                                  • Income for Gen Z adults is very low
                                    • Figure 17: Median household income, by age of householder, 2017
                                • Issues Impacting Generation Z

                                  • A generation of digital natives
                                    • Social media is a way of life
                                      • Figure 18: Social media use among Generation Z adults, March 2019
                                    • Googling yourself has become a rite of passage
                                      • Figure 19: Gwyneth Paltrow and daughter Apple, Instagram post, March 2019
                                    • Greater awareness of mental health needs
                                      • Higher rates of depression among teens
                                        • Gen Z more willing to talk openly about mental health problems
                                          • Case Study: Wear Your Meds
                                            • Figure 20: Selection of buttons available from Wear Your Meds
                                          • Taking parenting to the extreme
                                            • Parents these days do understand
                                              • The products of intensive and “snowplow” parenting
                                                • Case study: College admission scandal
                                                  • Under great pressure for academic success
                                                    • Higher education is worth the debt, but discontent is growing
                                                      • Educational institutions are evolving to meet Generation Z needs
                                                      • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Image is important
                                                          • Social media is their sphere
                                                            • Interest in video games threatens more established forms of media
                                                            • Mintel Trends to Watch

                                                              • Buydeology
                                                                • For younger consumers, brands are part of an overall image
                                                                  • Figure 21: Brand attitudes, Generation Z indexed to general population, March 2019
                                                                • Fair labor practices appeal to everyone
                                                                  • For Gen Z, environmental friendliness is more important than making donations
                                                                    • Gen Z and Millennial consumers are more open to controversy
                                                                      • Figure 22: Best ways for brands to reflect values, among Generation Z adults, March 2019
                                                                      • Figure 23: Best ways for brands to reflect values, Gen z adults indexed against all adults, March 2019
                                                                    • On Display
                                                                      • Gen Z adults feel constant judgement
                                                                        • Figure 24: Percentage who agree they feel constantly judged, by generation, March 2019
                                                                      • They’re the generation most concerned about appearance
                                                                        • Figure 25: “Thinking about my appearance” ranked in top 3 stressors, by generation, March 2019
                                                                      • Case study: College acceptance videos
                                                                        • Figure 26: COLLEGE DECISION REACTIONS 2019: Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, USC, & UT Austin, March 2019
                                                                      • Social Isolation
                                                                        • Gen Z adults are group most likely to feel isolated by social media
                                                                          • Figure 27: Percentage who agree that social media makes them feel left out, by generation, March 2019
                                                                          • Figure 28: Percentage who agree that life seems easier for their friends, by generation, March 2019
                                                                      • What’s Working

                                                                        • Friends are the new family
                                                                          • Nineties sitcom Friends remains unstoppable
                                                                            • “Friendsgiving” is a hit with Generation Z, too
                                                                              • Figure 29: Percentage of generation that celebrates “Friendsgiving,” March 2019
                                                                            • Case Study: Corona
                                                                              • Figure 30: Corona Ad, “Together”, March 2019
                                                                            • Influencing becomes a billion dollar career
                                                                              • Tik Tok taps younger users
                                                                                • Figure 31: Screenshot of Lauren Godwin’s TikTok page, April 2019
                                                                            • What’s Struggling

                                                                              • Struggle against teen vaping intensifies
                                                                                • Dramatic increase in adolescent vaping
                                                                                  • FDA and JUUL pledge changes
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Image from JUUL Labs Action Plan, November 2018
                                                                                  • Cash struggles as Generation Z starts spending
                                                                                    • Reading struggles to appeal to younger generations
                                                                                      • Figure 33: Image of Penguin Mini edition of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, April 2019
                                                                                  • What’s Next

                                                                                    • Facebook pivots strategy towards private messaging
                                                                                      • Figure 34: Generation Z adults’ digital activities, indexed against general adult population, March 2019
                                                                                    • Interactive media is the way of the future
                                                                                      • Video games could eventually replace TV content
                                                                                        • Figure 35: Selected favorite activities by generation, March 2019
                                                                                      • Netflix goes interactive
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Black Mirror: Bandersnatch | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix, December 2018
                                                                                    • Teens – What You Need to Know

                                                                                      • Teens feel pretty good about the future
                                                                                        • A generation of indoor kids
                                                                                          • Teens think they are cool, but know they are not perfect
                                                                                          • Teen Attitudes

                                                                                            • Teens’ outlook is fairly positive, despite family pressures
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Teen attitudes, March 2019
                                                                                            • Good grades are teens’ top concern
                                                                                              • Cyberbullies are the least of teens’ concerns
                                                                                                • Figure 38: Top stressors for teens (aged 12-17), March 2019
                                                                                              • Teens struggle to navigate relationships
                                                                                                • Female teens struggle with frenemies
                                                                                                  • Romantic relationships more stressful for teen boys than girls
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Percentage who rated “romantic relationships” as stressful, by age and gender, March 2019
                                                                                                • Teens’ Favorite Activities

                                                                                                  • Social media drives in-person socializing
                                                                                                    • Gen Z teens are avid indoorspeople
                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Favorite activities among teens (aged 12-17), March 2019
                                                                                                    • Case study: REI’s National Parks Guide
                                                                                                      • Figure 41: Screenshots of Rocky Mountain National Park pages, April 2019
                                                                                                    • Interest in interaction creates a gender divide
                                                                                                      • Interpersonal relationships are key to connecting with girls
                                                                                                        • Teen boys prefer video games to interactions with friends
                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Favorite activities among teens (aged 12-17), by gender, March 2019
                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Favorite activities among teens (aged 12-17), by gender, March 2019
                                                                                                      • Teen Generational Perspectives

                                                                                                          • Teens equate youth with both happiness and selfishness
                                                                                                            • Middle age does not seem cool
                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Generational Perspectives, among teens, March 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Selected generational perspectives, among teens, March 2019
                                                                                                          • Gen Z Adults – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                            • Time with friends and parents
                                                                                                              • Gaming is popular among Gen Z adults too
                                                                                                                • Stressed by the thought of the future
                                                                                                                  • But optimistic about their careers
                                                                                                                    • They shrug at political issues
                                                                                                                      • Career-focused and hard working
                                                                                                                      • Gen Z Adults' Favorite Activities

                                                                                                                        • Spending time with friends is a preferred pastime
                                                                                                                          • Console video games are also popular with young adults
                                                                                                                            • Time with parents is a favorite activity for a quarter of Gen Z adults
                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Favorite Activities of Generation Z adults, March 2019
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes of Gen Z Adults

                                                                                                                            • The specter of The Future looms large in Gen Z’s minds
                                                                                                                              • Most stressed by thoughts of the future and finances
                                                                                                                                • Case study: Gen Z investments
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Screenshot from Acorns website, April 2019
                                                                                                                                • Gen Z, the worker bees
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Stressors of Generation Z adults, March 2019
                                                                                                                                • The search for a spouse could also feed stress about the future
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Generation Z adults’ stressors, indexed against all adults, March 2019
                                                                                                                                • Generation Z adults view their future careers with idealism
                                                                                                                                  • They want passion in the workplace
                                                                                                                                    • Their ideal job would be similar to Millennials’
                                                                                                                                      • Impressive titles and easy work
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Ideal job traits for Gen Z adults, March 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: “Must have” job traits of Generation Z adults, indexed against all adults, March 2019
                                                                                                                                      • America’s youngest adults show general apathy toward political issues
                                                                                                                                        • Stronger feelings about marijuana and LGBTQ issues
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Political issues that Gen Z adults feel strongly about, indexed against all adults, March 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Case study: Chick-fil-A and Rider University
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: On-campus restaurant decision: A letter from President Gregory G. Dell’Omo and Vice President for Student Affairs Leanna Fenneberg, November 2018
                                                                                                                                        • Adults in Generation Z do not view teenagers as their peers
                                                                                                                                          • Gen Z adults liken themselves to hardworking Millennials
                                                                                                                                            • Older generations are more family-focused and financially secure
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 54: Gen Z Adults’ Generational Perceptions, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Population by generation, 2013-23
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Population by race and generation, 2018
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Median household income, by age of householder, 2017
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Births, by age of mother, 2017
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Number of adults in households of Generation Z adults, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Teen income and bank account data, November 2018
                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Free time and money-related teen behaviors, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Teen behavioral preferences, March 2019

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