Technology moves so quickly nowadays that it’s nearly impossible to stay abreast of all the new developments. It makes sense then that there’s already a new generation coming up behind Millennials that’s taking the technological reins and bringing about major changes in schools, the workplace, and society at large.
Currently age 20 and under, this new generation goes by many names: iGen, Gen Z, Centennials, Founders and more. The undisputed fact is that this generation is soon to be the fastest-growing generation in the workforce, is already the super-majority generation in college and younger, and is the tastemaker of trends that affect all of us, especially when it comes to technology.
iGen’s relationship with technology—from attitudes toward technology to true dependence on it—provides the best snapshot we have of future technology usage for each of us.
The generations before iGen – including Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers – will eventually adopt many of the technology habits and attitudes that iGen already views as normal. This happens because technology trends now ripple up: from the youngest adults to the oldest.
Many people saw this firsthand as Millennials’ reliance on social media, text messaging and mobile communications led other generations to adopt the same usage. Now employers, marketers and even policymakers are leveraging these technologies to better engage multiple generations at the same time.
Looking ahead, iGen also represents the best preview of future attitudes, beliefs and expectations about technology in the areas of privacy, security, dating, education, trust, work and so much more.
The Center for Generational Kinetics led a landmark study on iGen and technology to uncover what every generation of leaders, parents, managers, marketers and policymakers needs to know now—before the new generation fully exerts its change on the rest of us.
This head start in understanding is absolutely critical to preparing for, communicating with and influencing this new generation at a critical time in the reinvention of work, commerce and global connectivity.
“As experts in the field of generational research and Millennials, we naturally became very curious about the generation following Millennials, those born in 1996 and after,” says Jason Dorsey. “We know the challenge that the generation after Millennials brings is only going to increase, but we also believe the opportunity they drive as employees, customers and citizens will increase as well.”
Some of the most surprising findings from the study include:
- iGen expects you to get your first smartphone younger than any other generation.
- iGen is more concerned than other generation about online privacy in a number of areas, such as paying with debit or credit cards and online dating.
- iGen’s belief about the acceptable usage of their phone is likely still evolving, but in some areas, they look more like Baby Boomers and Generation X than Millennials.
- iGen says that social media affects them internally more than any other generation, including their own happiness and self-esteem.
- iGen is the first generation to come of age when the power has truly shifted from the brands, marketers and retailers to the consumer.
Of course even the oldest members of iGen are not yet in their twenties, so many of these observed trends may very well change in the coming years, as iGen enters adulthood. However, everyone needs to take note of their current attitudes and behaviors as they are already having major influences on businesses, employers, teachers, and their own parents.
Read all the surprising findings from our national study on iGen and technology here.