Generation Y (also referred to as millennials) is the latest generation to make a big economic impact in the U.S., but it will be soon be followed by Generation Z. Gen Z represents the post-millennial generation, which is characterized as those currently under the age of 20 who have grown up with mobile technology and social media. Despite not being major players in the market yet, Gen Z is currently estimated to have $44 billion in annual purchasing power.

Take a look at six differences between millennials and Gen Z consumers.

Ethnically Diverse

The Census Bureau estimates 50.2 percent of children under 18 will be part of a minority race or ethnic group, by 2020. It’ll be the most ethnically diverse generation yet.

SEE MORE: Top 4 Interests Of The Latina Millennial Mom

Technological Advances

While millennials did grow up with digital media, they lived in an era where the internet was still in its infancy. Gen Z has the luxury of being immersed in the digital age from birth.

Heavy Multitaskers

In addition to being immersed with digital media at an early age, Gen Z learned to multitask on more screens than millennials. According to research by the advertising agency Sparks and Honey, Gen Z is tech innate and used to working on five screens compared to tech-savvy millennials who are used to working on two screens.

Generation Ties

Compared to millennials, who were raised by baby boomers, Gen Z was primarily raised by Gen X. Gen X is known for its self-reliant values, which they have instilled in Gen Z. As children, Gen Z was encouraged to forge its own path. In comparison, millennials have a stronger support system from their parents.


In a study from the advertising agency, Deep Focus, it was found that Gen Z was more likely to have worked on learning a skill than millennials at their age (42 percent vs. 25 percent). Furthermore, 62 percent of Gen Z respondents said they would prefer to start their own company rather than working for an established company.

Influenced by “real people”

Deep Focus’ study found that 63 percent of Gen Z want to see “real people” in advertisements. Partially due to this desire, Gen Z is more likely to visit YouTube over any other social site (85 percent) and prefers to have its favorite brands communicate with them there over anywhere else (40 percent).

It’s easy to treat Gen Z and millennials as the same market because of the similarities they share and the loosely defined age cutoff, but Gen Z has unique characteristics which sets it apart from millennials. Gen Z will be defined by its self-motivated mindset and its affinity for technology.

Motivatethe leading specialized insights and media partner for reaching Multicultural, Youth and LGBTQ segments. You need a trusted media partner that understands the impact of changing demographics and helps you navigate through the marketing maze. We understand the nuances and intricacies of the millennial generation and have the resources and expertise to ensure maximum buying power, impact and ROI.

Sources: Deep Focus, MediaPost, The NY Times, Sparks and Honey, Sprout Social, Today