A New Age In Travel: Generation Z vs Millennials

Depending on who you ask, the exact birth years of Millennials and Generation Z vary. But the most common consensus is Millennials are those born between 1980 and 1996, and Generation Z refers to people born after 1996.

We’ve covered marketing to Millennials, Millennial travel habits and given a basic overview of Generation Z, but how do the two really compare and contrast? In part two of our A New Age In Travel series, we’ll look at the main differences between Generation Z and Millennials.

millennials-vs-generation-z-infographic

Millennials vs Gen Z
(click to view + download infographic)

Economic values

One of the biggest distinctions between these two generations is how they view the economy and spending. Members of Generation Z were born into economic turmoil, thanks to the recession and living in a post-9/11 world. Because of this, they are much more conscious of their spending and aren’t as likely to be swayed by clever marketing gimmicks that promise deals and steals. They also put less emphasis on spending for experiences unless they feel it’s truly worthwhile.

Millennials, on the other hand, grew up seeing their parents have more economic freedom. This is turn makes them value spending money on experiences and are willing to spend more on travel.

Brand loyalty

Generation Z is much less loyal to brands than the generation before them. In fact, Ernst & Young published a study that found 45% of Millennials feel loyalty programs make a brand seem special, compared with only 30% of Generation Z.

Instead of participating in loyalty programs, Generation Z wants the freedom to make their own deals: they desire the ability to “invent” the deal with the brand, dictate how/when they shop or travel and where they buy. Simply put, they want brands to provide options so they can do the rest.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

When it comes to beauty ideals, Generation Z prefers realistic over idealistic depictions of people, while Millennials expect perfection and have typically unattainable expectations of beauty. These preferences help explain why 63% of Z’s prefer “real people” over celebrities in advertising, while only 37% of Millennials prefer seeing real people in marketing efforts, according to the Cassandra Report.

Generation Z’s penchant for realistic, non-traditional beauty ideals also helps explain why 85% of this generation name YouTube as their favorite site. They look to YouTube stars—who are typically “regular” people who happen to have a large following—as their tastemakers and prefer viewing content made by people they feel they can relate to.

Convenience is key

Although Millennials are tech-savvy, Generation Z relies much more heavily on technology and the Internet and the convenience they afford—after all, they’re the only generation to not know a world that didn’t include the World Wide Web.

Online ordering is important to both generations, but here’s the key difference: Millennials will order online and opt to pick up their items in the store, while Generation Z wants to order online and have the items shipped directly to them—and they expect this to be done quickly and inexpensively (if not for free).

The main takeaway

While there are some overlapping characteristics between Generation Z and Millennials, it’s important to acknowledge the distinct differences between the demographics. Millennials are still important to target—they have more immediate spending power than their generational successors. But the fact is, Generation Z is an ever-growing group that cannot be ignored. It’s time to take your marketing efforts forward and start reaching out to tomorrow’s travelers today.

Want to learn more about marketing to these different generations? Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or lkaniper@danacommunications.com today. And be sure to keep an eye out for part three of this series.

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