Getting to Know Gen Z: Beliefs, Preferences, and Behaviors

Americans age 15-19 are more likely than older consumers to believe success comes from hard work, to care about identity-based issues, to value ads that showcase real people, and to use visual-first social networks, according to recent research from Barkley and FutureCast.

The report was based on data from the book Marketing to Gen Z: The Rules for Reaching this Vast and Very Different Generation of Influencers by Jeff Fromm and Angie Read.

The researchers surveyed 2,039 people in the United States belonging to four generations: Gen Z (defined by the researchers as consumers age 15-19), Millennials (age 20-35), Gen X (age 36-51), and Boomers (age 52-70).

Gen Z Americans are significantly more likely than older Americans to say that becoming a success is a result of hard work rather than luck. They are also more likely to value winning individual awards.


Gen Z and Millennial Americans are more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomer Americans to rate racial equality, gender equality, and sexual orientation equality as important social issues.

Gen Z consumers are more likely than older consumers to value ads that show diverse families and ads that showcase changing ideas about gender.

Gen Z consumers are especially big fans of ads that show real people rather than gender stereotypes from the past.

Gen Z consumers are significantly more likely than older consumers to use visual-based social networks, such as Instagram and Snapchat.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 2,039 people in the United States belonging to four generations: Gen Z (defined by the researchers as consumers age 15-19), Millennials (age 20-35), Gen X (age 36-51), and Boomers (age 52-70).

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