UNDERSTANDING GEN Z:
How America's Largest, Most Diverse, Best-Educated, and Most Financially Powerful Generation Will Shape the Future.

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A superlative generation in many regards, Generation Z is on track to be the largest, most ethnically diverse, and financially-powerful generation ever. In the coming years, their distinctive habits will play an outsized role in shaping American culture and commerce.  

Based on nearly 1,000 survey interviews with 18-21 year-olds, Morning Consult’s ‘Understanding Gen Z’ report digs into the values, habits, aspirations, politics, and concerns that are shaping Gen Z adults and the ways they differ from the generations that came before them.

Below is a selection of key takeaways from each section:

PERSONAL VALUE & LIFE OUTLOOK
  1. Making money and having a successful career are the two most universally important life goals for Gen Z adults – more than pursuing friends, family, or hobbies. Seventy percent of Gen Z adults say making money is very important to them.
  2. Gen Z adults are more likely to define themselves by what they do, rather than who they are: Career choice and hobbies are the two most important concepts to shaping their personal identity, notably more than ideas like race or religion.
  3. Nearly a quarter of Gen Z adults have aspirations to be famous: 23% say being famous is important to them – eight points higher than millennials and 15 points higher than Gen X.
POLITICAL IDENTITY & PERCEPTIONS OF THE WORLD
  1. Reversing a trend of declining generational trust, Gen Z adults put slightly more faith in capitalism than millennials. Thirty-six percent of Gen Z have a favorable view of capitalism, and 35 percent have a favorable of socialism. 
  2. #BlackLivesMatter has had a potent impact on Gen Z: No recent political event has registered more with Gen Z adults, relative to older generations. Fifty-two percent say the movement has had a major impact on their worldview.
  3. Trump and Republicans get little support: For every voting-age member of Gen Z who has a very favorable opinion of Trump, there are more than 6 who have a very unfavorable opinion.
  4. There is broad skepticism of American power and institutions:  Seventy-eight percent of Gen Z adults say there is a lot of corruption in America, and just eight percent have a lot of trust in people in power to do the right thing.
  5. Gen Z adults are less America-centric than older Americans. They are far less likely than older generations to say that being an American is important to their identity, and are more skeptical that the U.S. sets a good example for the rest of the world.
MEDIA CONSUMPTION
  1. Gen Z adults have a news diet entirely unlike any other generation: Roughly half of Gen Z adults (49%) get most of their news from social media, compared to 17% for all other adults. Twelve percent of Gen Z gets most of their news on television, compared to 42% of all other adults.
  2. TV news consumption is lower for Gen Z adults than older generations: Gen Z adults are over 10 points less likely to watch traditional broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABS) than older generations
  3. Gen Z adults are more likely to use digital-first news publications such as Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail on a weekly basis, relative to older Americans.
CONSUMER HABITS
  1. Jeffree Star, the Kardashians, Tati Westbrook are among the most influential influencers: When asked an open-ended question to name the person they would most trust to recommend a product, Jeffree Star got the most mentions.
  2. In-store shopping is still a popular option for the youngest consumers. Despite heavy online presence, 48 percent of Gen Z adults say their preferred method for shopping is in stores. 
  3. More than a third of Gen Z adults say they’ve mocked brands online in the past year for political reasons. And when it comes to boycotting, 39 percent of self-described Gen Z liberals say they’ve stopped paying for a company’s products because of a political stance in the past year.
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