Millennials are about to be surpassed by Generation Z.
Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials, who will account for a 31.5 percent share, based on Bloomberg analysis of United Nations data, and using 2000/2001 as the generational split.
People born in 2001 will turn 18 next year, meaning many will enter university, be eligible to vote and, depending on their citizenship, smoke or drink alcohol without breaking the law. Gen Zers have never known a non-digital world and have grown up amid events such as the “war on terror” and Global Recession.
“The key factor that differentiated these two groups, other than their age, was an element of self-awareness versus self-centeredness,” according to “Rise of Gen Z: New Challenge for Retailers,” a report by Marcie Merriman, an executive director at Ernst & Young LLP. Millennials were “more focused on what was in it for them. They also looked to others, such as the companies they did business with, for solutions, whereas the younger people naturally sought to create their own solutions.”
The demographic handover is good news for delivery services, gadget makers and the so-called gig economy. Meanwhile, it presents new challenges to educators, event planners, luxury brands and even golfers — a game where the average age of U.S. participants now exceeds 50.
“Each generation comes with a unique set of behaviors and presents a unique set of challenges for those looking to reach them,” according to a report by research firm Nielsen Holdings Plc. “Gen Z are bombarded with messages and are a generation that can quickly detect whether or not something is relevant to them.”
Millennials will continue to represent the bigger proportion in the world’s four largest economies: U.S., China, Japan and Germany. The combined population just shy of 2 billion in those four countries will have a ratio of 100 millennials for every 73 in Gen Z next year.