Gen Z: 5 Key Differences That Separate Them From Millennials

Gen Z

Last Updated: February 2024

The era of millennials has its own legacy but Gen Z is the new talk of the town. Marketers have started to show a lot of interest and follow this young demography of Gen-zers, the people who were born between the mid-1990s and 2010s.

Gen-Zers, those currently under 25, disapprove of being confused with Gen Y. Generation Z thinks that using Facebook and listening to rock music is uncool and out of fashion, while millennials are fond of them.

The businesses that can read the psyche of these two generations and understand their unique cultural quirks and preferences, can certainly appeal to a wider customer base and increase their business multifold.

If you’re running a business, you can not afford to miss out on a huge potential offered by Generation Z whose purchasing power is said to be around $44 billion.

To have a better understanding, take a look at five key differences between Gen Z and Gen Y:

1. Shaped by different experiences

Gen Y and Gen Z have different world views.

Most millennials grew up in times when the internet was still in its nascent stage, every millennial watched the same prime-time T.V. shows on cable, listening to the same ‘MTV top 100s’, watched the same movies, cartoons, etc. These common influences have strongly defined the millennial generation.

While Generation Z has its own unique preferences in technology, music, TV shows. They’re exploring content outside of their culture which includes watching Japanese anime, reading manga, watching Korean daily soaps, listening to K-pop, etc, because of greater and diverse access to the resources. Unlike Gen Y, they don’t have shared experiences and you can’t box them in one category like you can do millennials.

If we take a look at the infographics below, we can get an idea of how diverse Generation Z is in their choices. For example, millennials generally choose mainstream celebrities such as Kanye West as their role models whereas Generation Z has role models like PewdiePie who are not known much outside of YouTube.

All of these different experiences have shaped how millennials and Gen Z see things differently.

Gen Z


2. Different upbringing leads to different values.

Gen Y and Gen Z have a generational gap of upbringing. Gen Y was raised by baby boomers who were relatively rigid in their social, financial, and religious beliefs whereas Gen-Z is being raised by more liberal Gen-X who have accepted the more advanced and diverse way of lifestyle.

While Generation Z grew up watching Millennials burdened under student loans is hesitant to take on any debt at all. Unlike millennials, they don’t seem to shy away from diversifying their financial portfolio ranging from traditional banking to blockchain banking systems like cryptocurrencies.

Let’s take a look at the infographic below that shows the outlook of Millennials and Gen-Z towards their careers.

Gen-Z is more attracted to job security and pay raise, they have an entrepreneurial mindset, willing to try their hands in alternate and unconventional careers such as becoming professional gamers, YouTubers, etc whereas Gen-Y is more inclined towards consistent job growth, remote work, and work-life balance, they also get very impatient if their career path stagnates.

Gen Z

3. Gen Z has its own influencers.

You can comfortably call Generation Z – ‘Cyberbeings’, they grew up watching YouTube, Netflix, Twitch as their main source of media.

Empowered by technology, Gen-Z no longer relies on popular media and does not want popular TV hosts to tell whom they should follow. They have their own influencers according to their unique interests and niche.

An infographic by Dana Communications shows that 67% percent of Gen-zers prefer to see real people in ads, whereas only 37% of Millennials feel the same. The Infographic survey also indicates that they have opposite views on loyalty programs.

Also read: 6 Mobile Customer Loyalty Program Ideas for Gen Z

4. Gen Z is even more tech-savvy.

Also popularly known as ‘Zoomers’  in many online communities, Gen Z, spends a lot of time online while their Millennial counterparts are relatively more conservative when it comes to digital life.

This has become more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic when Gen Z smoothly adjusted to almost complete online life whereas most millennials and boomers are complaining about being stuck in front of screens.

An infographic by Civic Science reveals that 72 percent of Gen-Zers surf YouTube on a daily basis, but only 53 percent of Millenials do the same.

Furthermore, if we take a look at the graph below, we can easily understand how much Gen-Z is ahead in its use of technology than Millennials.

Gen Z

5. Gen Y values experiences, Gen Z prefers cool products.

According to a graphic overview from Deep Focus, 60 percent of Gen Z values products that are cool whereas 77 percent of Millenials look for great experiences.

Another survey has revealed that millennials have higher expectations for customer experience and are willing to spend more for it. 66% of millennials’ standard for customer experience was higher than ever compared to 53% of Gen Z. Seventy-six percent of millennials also said they’d pay more for great customer experiences (vs. 71% of Gen Z).

Furthermore, For example, they’d not mind cashing out more money on a decent vacation or using convenient public transport than spending money on an expensive car.

Gen Z, on the other hand, craves products that offer great values through which they can express their personality. They like brands that are fun, authentic, and good. Gen-Z actively seeks products offering multiple sub-categories for customization based on their needs.

To market your products more aggressively you need to understand what each generation values.

So, you can no more mistake Gen Z for just cute little kids, a matter of fact is that they’re extremely smart and know very well what they want.

You have to market your brand and product that appeals to them, you need to craft your marketing campaign according to their unique preferences, you simply can’t replicate the same marketing strategies for Gen Z that you used for millennials.


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