Quick Facts on Generation Z

According to Pew Research, unlike the Boomers, there are no comparably definitive dates that later generational boundaries are defined. But for analytical purposes, Pew believes 1996 is a meaningful cutoff between Millennials and Generation Z for a number of reasons, including key political, economic and social factors that define the Millennial generation’s formative years.

Their Impact 

Generation Z makes up 25 percent of the U.S. population, making them a larger influence than the Baby Boomers or Millennials.

By 2020, Gen-Z will account for 40 percent of all consumers and influence nearly $4 billion in discretionary spending, according to research from MNI Targeted Media.

According to Barkley’s Gen Z Insights Center, Gen Z already has up to $143 billion in direct buying power with the potential to impact more than $665 billion in family spending.

Parents say 93 percent of Gen Zers influence spending.

Media Usage

MNI Targeted Media research uncovered the following as it relates to how Gen Z interact with media:

  • A full 83 percent of Gen Zers turn to newspapers (both online and offline) for trusted information and content, and 34 percent turn to magazines.
  • Gen Z uses streaming audio (4.8 hrs./week), social media (4.6 hrs./week), streaming video (4.2 hrs./week), websites (4.2 hrs./week), and magazines (1 hr./week).
  • Streaming video (55 percent), newspapers (44 percent), digital video (42 percent), and magazines (34 percent) are the types of media respondents use without interruption most often.
  • 47 percent appreciate relevant ads and 44 percent expect ads to be relevant to them. (Source: MNI Targeted Media)

“Gen Z is anything but monolithic or expected,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “A common thread between the diverse array of Gen Z kids seems to be their tendency to weave social media and digital experiences into their physical, everyday lives. For a brand to be big with Gen Z, having brick-and-mortar store locations and a strong online presence are both essential to generating business and buzz.”

“Gen Z has grown up with a fluency in technology well before any biology class. Consequently, they have very high expectations when it comes to digital experiences. This new digital standard can be summarized in three findings from our Gen Z study: (1) 67 percent of Gen Z believes in the next five years that websites will know what you’re looking for before you tell them. (2) 40 percent of Gen Z say they will stop visiting a site if it doesn’t anticipate what they need, liked or wanted. And lastly, (3) this generation, having been raised in a social media world, is almost twice as likely as a Boomer to provide data to receive a personalized experience. But, they’re going to hold all of us responsible for making sure it’s secure,” said Fabio Torlini, managing director for EMEA at WP Engine.

Social Media Habits 

The Center for Generational Kinetics shares the following on Generation Z and it’s social habits.

  • Gen Z uses Instagram to follow brands, Snapchat to post or send a video or a selfie, and Facebook to create or check a group event.
  • The generation trusts YouTube ads more than any other type of ad including radio, print, and TV.
  • 68 percent of Gen Z reads at least 3 reviews before making a first-time purchase with their own money.
  • 46 percent of Gen Z follows more than 10 influencers on social media.
  • Gen Z prefers to follow brands on Instagram and uses it 2.5 times more often than Facebook to do so.




Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.