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How Gen Z is shaping the future economy

Gen Z, the generation born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, is a powerful force shaping not just culture, but economies worldwide. Understanding their beliefs and behaviors is crucial to navigating future opportunities and challenges. Here’s a breakdown of key factors influencing Gen Z’s social media habits and economic decisions:

Social Media Savvy:

  • TikTok Turmoil: The recent TikTok ban highlights a misunderstanding of complex issues surrounding data security. Gen Z recognizes the importance of addressing these concerns.
  • The Influencer Economy: Highly active on social media, Gen Z understands influencer marketing’s power and its role in shaping public opinion. They’re poised to be both consumers and influencers in this growing $15 billion industry ([report](link to report on influencer marketing industry being worth $15 billion by 2023)).

Tech & Innovation:

  • The AI Revolution: Gen Z shows strong interest in the AI industry, with many pursuing tech careers. This interest aligns with predictions of AI creating 58 million new jobs by 2023 ([report](link to report by World Economic Forum predicting AI will create 58 million new jobs by 2023)).

  • Web3 and Decentralization: Gen Z embraces Web3 technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency, seeking a more user-controlled internet. Their early adoption positions them to play a vital role in shaping this $3.1 trillion industry by 2025 ([report](link to Gartner report predicting that by 2025, the business value added by blockchain will reach $3.1 trillion)).

Sustainability and Energy:

  • Leading the Green Shift: Deeply concerned about climate change, Gen Z prioritizes a sustainable energy economy based on renewables. This aligns with predictions that renewables could account for 90% of global power generation by 2050 ([report](link to report by International Energy Agency predicting that renewable energy sources could account for 90% of the world’s power generation by 2050)).

Gen Z’s Core Values:

  • Financial Aspirations: While prioritizing career and financial goals, Gen Z can appear more materialistic than previous generations. This may stem from a desire for financial security amidst stagnant wages.

  • Slow Living and Wellness: Gen Z values a slower pace and prioritizes mental and physical health. They differentiate between “quiet quitting” (fairly compensating work) and “slow living” (healthy work-life boundaries).

  • Multiple Income Streams: Understanding the importance of financial diversification, Gen Z embraces side hustles and multiple income sources to mitigate risk in a stagnant wage economy.

  • Financial Literacy: Having witnessed the 2008 financial crisis, Gen Z prioritizes budgeting and responsible credit use. Their financial savvy is reflected in higher average savings compared to Millennials.

  • Practical Education: Valuing skills and career paths, Gen Z explores trade schools and specialized degrees offering clear advantages in the job market. They’re cost-conscious and weigh the risks of student loan debt heavily.

  • Tech Natives: The first fully digital generation, Gen Z is highly comfortable with technology and likely to pursue tech careers, boosting overall efficiency in the workplace.

  • Redefining Retirement: Less concerned with traditional retirement planning, Gen Z prioritizes current financial needs.

  • Employer Loyalty is Earned: Gen Z seeks mutual respect and appreciation from employers, prioritizing feeling valued over long-term company loyalty.

  • Parental Trust in Finance: More trusting of parents for financial advice than Millennials, Gen Z may benefit from increased financial transparency offered by Gen X parents.

  • Homeownership Redefined: The high cost of housing and student debt make homeownership less of a priority for Gen Z compared to previous generations.

Despite anxieties, Gen Z remains optimistic. A McKinsey & Company study reveals they hold a brighter view of the economic future than older generations. This “highly collaborative, self-reliant and pragmatic” generation has the potential to achieve the American Dream if industries adapt to their unique needs and expectations.


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