5 things you should know about Gen Z

gen z
We know them as the true "digital natives", but these key stats will tell us more about this hypercognitive generation. Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Every generation approaches life differently. The same applies to those who grew up in the era of smartphones, social media and 4G connectivity. Dubbed Generation Z, those born in the late 1990s through the early 2000s are true “digital natives” and arguably the most proficient generation ever at navigating the digital sphere. And they’re making this known in the workplace, consumer market, and education.

You don’t have to look far for examples of how “dot com kids” are finding success in a world where around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created (that’s a billion billions of data) every single day. By 19, the album of pop phenomenon Billie Eilish, “When We All Asleep, Where Do We Go?” was streamed billions of times, and she has won multiple Grammys – five at the 2020 Grammy Awards alone.

In the TV realm, Millie Bobby Brown, the star of the instant Netflix hit, “Stranger Things” has 58.5 million Instagram followers and reportedly much more for each sponsored post. Their medium? Digital platforms.

As Gen Z is set to make up 20.2% of the US population by 2022 (US Census Bureau), here are more key stats that you may not know about this hypercognitive generation: 

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Gen Z loves YouTube. Source: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

1. 95% of individuals aged 13 to 17 use Youtube 

Younger members of Gen Z use these three social platforms the most: YouTube (95%), TikTok (67%), and Instagram (62%), according to a survey by Pew Research Center titled, “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022.”

When asked about giving up social media, close to six in 10 teens ages 15 to 17 say giving up social media would be at least somewhat difficult to do. Meanwhile, 48% of 13- to 14-year-olds think it would be difficult.

Part of this could be rooted in how Gen Z wants to stay connected virtually to their friends. Not “oversharers” or self-promoters, they do not believe social media is king. Instead, this group “ has “embraced technology’s omnipresence but still highly values human interaction.”

2. 35% of Gen Z high achievers are driven by an internal fear of “not being enough”

Out of the 2,054 US teens and young adults aged 12 to 22 who participated in EY’s survey, the largest group feels pressured to live up to the expectations of an overproductive world. Known as the “Stressed Strivers,” they set big goals for themselves and are willing to stress themselves out in their drive to achieve them – despite having supportive parents who value their child’s happiness.

3. 16% of Gen Z “go with the flow”

A minority in EY’s survey is called the “Carefree Constituents.” They enjoy the now – with fewer worries about grades and less stress over what others think about them. They’ll follow whatever trend calls their name – to significant influence.

“Although Carefree Constituents may not drive change, this large group serves as the gatekeepers to the mainstream,” said the EY report. “What this group adopts will have a significant impact on society as a whole.”

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More than half of Gen Z prefer hands-on learning. Source: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images North America/ Getty Images/AFP

4. 51% of Gen Z learn best by doing

Today’s students refuse to be passive learners. They thrive through experiential learning. More than half (51%) learn best by working through examples. Only 12% find classroom lectures beneficial. More technology and more individual attention will make learning more fun, helpful and interactive.

5. Gen Z is transforming digital search

TikTok – and its powerful algorithm – is increasingly becoming a search engine. Where the rest of the world finds information via Google, Gen Z wants more than the search results of faceless websites. They are drawn to a sense of real people providing content that is uncannily catered to their tastes on TikTok. 

According to Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan, who runs Google’s Knowledge and  Information organisation, these users don’t type in keywords but scrolls through videos.

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search,” he said at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference. “They go to TikTok or Instagram.”