Our Insight team have reviewed the Ipsos MORI recently published report on Generation Z, here is a brief summary of the findings for anyone still thinking that it was all about the ‘Millennials’.
Millennials are old news. Gen Z are the new focus of attention, and often wild speculation. Most of them are still very young, with the oldest only just reaching their early 20s, but they are already the subject of spurious claims and myths about who they are and what they’re going to be.
- Increasingly fluid: as the title of the report suggests, this generation is less boxed in. What we mean is that things are more open, less set, because people do have more ways to connect, see and experience more things. This doesn’t deny the threats of a more ideological and tribal political context: technology has also fragmented people into their own bubbles and echo chambers. But, even in politics, the clear pattern is that each successive generation is significantly less wedded to one political party.
- No turning point on trust: do not believe the latest polls or headlines that scream about a new ‘crisis of trust’ in our institutions. Particularly not when they say it’s because of young people. Our new analysis shows no real differences in levels of trust among the young with regards to all sorts of traditional institutions.
- Just as caring: technology has been democratising in many ways, including in making age, seniority or established connections a lot less important to whether you can have an impact or not. The evidence suggests they are just as active in social causes as previous generations, sometimes in different ways (using technology), but just as often in traditional ways, such as volunteering.
- Inflection point on health: the obesity epidemic may not be the constantly and inevitably escalating trend it’s sometimes made out to be, as it appears to stabilising among children in some countries. That doesn’t mean we’re not in dangerous waters – it’s not getting better either.
- Importance of digital skills: digital literacy is obviously going to become one of the most crucial skills to have in the next ten to 20 years. In some ways, Generation Z already have an innate advantage over other generations, just through growing up fully integrated with technology – they are much more discerning of online sources than Millennial children ever were. But this should not make us complacent about the risks: near universal access to the internet in established markets hides the very real differences in uses and skills development between different socio-economic groups within Gen Z.
- Danger is different: Generation Z are not the teenage rebels of ages past. Generational declines in youth crime, smoking, drinking and sexual activity reflect a significant behavioural shift. This shift has not come from young people understanding and acknowledging the risks of these behaviours – it’s more likely to do with them being stopped by more general societal changes and interventions, as well as a shift towards online activities.
- And digital is double edged: this deep integration of digital communications into the lives of young people brings wider benefits in connection, social action, and self-expression – but also its own risks. There is a growing body of evidence of the downsides from unfettered use of technology, prompting more strident statements from politicians and officials, including the head of the NHS in the UK. Social media use has correlations with anxiety, bullying, peer pressure, lower self-esteem, alongside much more positive outcomes.
Looking across the findings – on everything from health, risk-taking behaviour, social action, technology use, attitudes to privacy, political views, optimism for the future, trust in institutions and people, social attitudes, sexuality and many other subjects – the main themes are covered in the full report. We just wanted to bring this to you so you can start planning for the next generation of insurance customers.
BEYOND BINARY IPSOS THINKS The lives and choices of Generation Z – report released 4 July 2018
The full report is available here: https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/ipsos-thinks-beyond-binary-lives-and-choices-generation-z