April 20, 2020


What exactly does it mean to be a millennial or to be in Generation Z? We hear about these generations all the time. Now it’s time to figure out how to separate the two. In the previous years, there has been a debate regarding what the differences are between the two generations. It’s important to know how we can compare and how we can clearly classify these specific age groups.

Millennials is the term used to describe the generation that reached adulthood in the early 21st century. Millennials are also known as Generation Y and were born between 1981 and 1996. Usually, millennials range between the ages of 24 to 39 and are often the children of the baby boomers. Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964 are usually between 56 and 74 years old. Many young adults nowadays would define themselves as millennials.

Gen Z is the term that refers to the generation born between 1996 and 2010, following millennials. This generation typically ranges from ages ten to 24. Gen Z is the youngest, most ethnically diverse and largest generation in American history. Gen Z already makes up 20 percent of our country’s population. Gen Z are people who grew up with technology, the internet and social media. This generation is much more tech savvy and up to date on the newest and coolest innovations.

Evidently, there are quite a few differences between the two generations. It’s important for marketers to know the difference so they can understand their audiences better. Clearly, millennials and Gen Z are both notably connected to the internet. With this in common, most marketers tend to think they can appeal to both generations with one campaign. However, that’s not always the case. The leap in technology and social media has exposed both generations to a host of different experiences.

Gen Z processes information faster than any other generation including millennials. They live in a high-tech world with constant updates and grew up with access to apps such as Snapchat and Instagram. Gen Z tends to gravitate towards convenience over brand loyalty. They love tech-driven and fast shopping experiences. They see shopping as a social experience. Gen Z prefers to learn about products through social media-based videos and influencer marketing, while millennials will respond to a variety of promotional strategies including traditional online ads, social media marketing and branded podcasts.

Gen Z is more likely to make mobile and online purchases. Every day, millennials spend around 7.5 hours online, while Gen Z spends about 10 hours. When it comes to content consumption, each generation differs in its average attention span. While millennials will pay attention to content for 12 seconds, Gen Z will only stay focused for eight seconds. Therefore, Gen Z enjoys quick and short-form video content, while millennials value long-form content such as longer videos or podcasts.

Despite the differences between these two generations, there are two big similarities: both love social media and instant gratification. When marketing to them, be sure the campaign clearly explains what will be valuable to them. It is also important to leverage social media networks that the age group your targeting has in common. You’ll want to be on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook because most members of these age groups will use these platforms daily. When creating marketing campaigns for these groups, it’s important to understand your audience’s purchasing habits, where they spend the most time and what motivates each group of people.

Following Gen Z is Generation Alpha. Generation Alpha is the term that describes anyone born after 2010. This generation is set to be the most transformative generation yet. Alphas haven’t just grown up with technology, they have been engaged with it since birth. Technology will continue to be a part of their everyday lives as it is a way of life for them. Alphas have been widely exposed to multiple digital platforms. Companies will need to formulate new ways to interact and communicate with Alphas. This will create new opportunities for marketers.

~ Katrina Arbis


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