Millennials love their brands, Gen Zs are terrified of college debt, and 6 other ways Gen Zs and millennials are totally different

Gen Z

  • 100 Gen Zs shared with Business Insider what they think makes them different from millennials, and a few trends were clear.
  • Gen Zs believe themselves to be social justice-minded and more dependent on technology than millennials. 
  • Marketers have noticed that this generational cohort isn’t as brand-conscious as their peers, and they’re much more frugal.


My first memory ever is using dial-up internet (I think I was interested in the weird sounds), my parents are Baby Boomers, and I lived at least half of my life without the conveniences of mobile internet.

In other words, I’m a millennial.

Millennials have been framed as selfish, “psychologically scarred,” in constant need of validation, and killing several industries, from casual dining to (perhaps worst of all) bar soap.

But now it’s time for a new generation to take the spotlight — and the heat: Generation Z, or all Americans born after 1997, are the newest generation.

As I’ve reported on this emerging generation and talked to Gen Zs nationwide, I’ve been struck by the differences this cohort has in comparison to myself and my fellow millennials.

And marketers and teens alike have been happy to highlight the differences. Here’s what they say sets these two generations apart:

SEE ALSO: 104 Generation Zs reveal what it’s like to be a teen in 2018

Millennials spent much of their childhoods without social media or smartphones

Facebook didn’t start to become ubiquitous until 2008. The first iPhone was invented in 2007.

As a result, many millennials spent their childhoods without cell phones and depending on the family desktop computer.  

The oldest millennials, who were born in the early 1980s, even made it to college using dial-up internet, using actual floppy disks, and cassette players.

As a younger millennial, I remember the transition from CDs to iPods and being flabbergasted as a teen by my first cell phone that could connect to the internet. 

Gen Zs don’t know a world before mobile technology

By 2000, the majority of American homes had at least one computer. Even though many millennials grew up using the internet, it was probably with the sole family desktop computer. 

But, thanks to mobile internet, Gen Zs have computers in their pockets. They’re able to be online constantly in a way that millennials never were in their youth.

The majority of teens told Business Insider in a recent survey that technology is what sets them apart from millennials.

  • “For Gen Z, this tech is all we ever knew about and has been in our lives since we were babies.” — New York resident Isabel Lagando, 14
  • “Everything in our generation is immediate. Since we have been raised in an age where texts and messages can be sent in the blink of an eye, we are less patient than other generations because we are used to having instant gratification.” — North Carolina resident Margaret Bolt, 15
  • “We communicate through social media and texts, which changes the dynamic of communication.” — Virginia resident Maddie Martin, 19

Millennials mostly grew up during healthy economic times, but are now poorer than their parents

Less than half of millennials think they’re better of than their parents were at their age, compared to 55% of baby boomers, according to the Urban Institute

Millennials who graduated in the late 2000s and early 2010s encountered a depressed job market, and many also owed tens of thousands in student loans during their 20s and 30s. 

Still, they’re notorious for being overly-optimistic despite their heady economic circumstances. That might be because they grew up during economic prosperity. 

“Millennials were an optimistic generation that’s often seen as being pandered to by parents and adults in their lives,” writes the blog behind cloud computing company Salesforce.


See the rest of the story at Business Insider