Who and what is Generation Z?

Not too long ago a bunch of teenagers classifying as Generation Z (sometimes called Zoomers) started the Jean Wars, a social media campaign to proclaim that ‘Skinny jeans are out!’

The Jean Wars went viral – from the USA to New Zealand, from South Africa to the UK.

The campaign was aimed at Millennials who are known to have an inordinate fondness for skinny jeans. Unlike Generation Z, who favours loose jeans, wide-leg jeans, boot-cut jeans and slightly slouchy jeans. These types of jeans look good on anybody and everybody, Generation Z claims.

So, who are the Millennials? Who classifies as Generation Z? And who else is there?

  • Generation Z are those born between 1997 and 2015.
  • Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are born between 1981 and 1996.
  • Then there is the more specific Generation Alpha who are those born after 2010.

More about Generation Z

Generation Z is the first generation to have grown up with access to the internet and portable digital technology from a young age. This has led to Generation Z spending more time on electronic devices and less time reading books (or magazines and newspapers) for pleasure, compared to previous generations.

This also means that there are negative implications for their attention span and the extent of their vocabulary. Often they are sleep-deprived due to spending too much time – especially late at night – on their devices.

Yet digital technology has had a sizeable impact on the English language with new words such as TikTok, Insta(gram), selfies, twitterati, Youtubers, hashtag, binge-watching and selfie stick coined and then becoming part of everyday speak.

According to Zanne Horrell, a Futures Studies expert who studies at Stellenbosch University, Generation Z seems to be more in touch with social equality and environmental issues posing a danger to the world; material possessions don’t matter as much to them.

Many members of Generation Z are well-behaved and honest, they view academic performance as important, they are unafraid to stand up for one another and they are more accepting of others who are different to what they are.

Although many are happy with their personal lives, there are also an alarming number of Generation Z members that are depressed and/or stressed. Many also find that they often feel lonely. This is at least partly because if youspend too much time on a device you unlearn healthy social behaviour and interaction.

On the upside they are more influenced by their parents, friends and teachers, rather than by politicians or celebrities.

In general physical health as well as emotional health are important to Generation Z.

In a 2020 survey conducted among 1000 Generation Z members, a significant number indicated that they would still like to travel, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. 

If you are a member of Generation Z, re-read this blog and see how many attributes you tick. Still struggling to choose your next pair of jeans? Read more here to help you to make up your mind / confuse you even more.