“I am technologically adept, pragmatic, and altruistic”
This segment encompasses only the portion of Generation Z that is over the age of 16, with a median age of 20. They are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in the US, the best educated (with higher high-school graduation rates and rates of enrollment in college than previous generations), and the most technologically savvy.
Gen Z is the first generation to be born into the full spectrum of current technological advances, including ready access to the Internet and smart devices. This access has resulted in the weaving of technology into the very fabric of their existence, being evident in all facets of their lives from education to product purchases to social connectivity to entertainment choices to financial dealings. Gen Z expects technology to continue to develop and anticipates, without concern, that their careers will see an increase in job automation and the workplace implementation of AI while their personal lives will be impacted by continuing advances in such things as wearable devices and networked gadgetry.
To some extent, Generation Z’s technology use and dependency has reduced their in-person/face-to-face interactivity, a fact that they state sometimes makes them lonely and has led to slightly higher rates of depression (13%) than were reported by earlier generations at the same age. High usage of technology also appears to be connected with other Gen Z personality traits and expectations, such as the generation’s short attention span and general impatience.
Despite slightly higher rates of depression among this generation, the majority of Gen Zers report that they are happy, optimistic, and have confidence in themselves. They also report that they lack confidence in current world structures such as political systems, big banks, pharmaceutical companies, and large corporations. They are concerned about the economy, anxious to see the elimination of poverty in their lifetime, worried about the environment, seek an end to discrimination, and express anxiety about online bullying. They are in favor of diversity, sexual and gender equality, and same sex marriage.
Gen Zers face the problems they see with both pragmatism and altruism: accepting that some problems are beyond their control but believing that they have the power to change the world for the better. This belief manifests itself through rates of volunteerism that surpass previous generations at the same age. Gen Z’s pragmatic altruism also expresses itself in their adoption of situational identities: eschewing hardened religious and political positions in favor of “spirituality” and “situational correctness.”
Gen Zers are interested in healthy living, an interest that expresses itself primarily through healthy food choices at home and in casual dining restaurants. Food is the primary item on which Gen Zers spend their money, followed by clothing purchases, where personal style and cost/value have priority over brand loyalty. Gen Zers prefer to shop online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores for clothing because they feel that online shopping provides them with a better selection of distinctive items that reflect and amplify their own personality.