June 22, 2012
Data point: Gen Z attuned to fiscal realities
With U.S. unemployment at a record high among teens and averaging 9.4 percent over the past year among young college grads, the youngest generation is well attuned to fiscal realities. According to research from broker service TD Ameritrade, 39 percent of 13-22-year-olds surveyed are very concerned about affording college and about having a large student loan balance, with 35 percent very concerned about affording a home. And among respondents who have saved some money, around 4 in 10 are simply saving for basic living expenses or education-related expenses, as this chart shows. Our own research, spotlighted in our April trend report, Gen Z: Digital in Their DNA, found that economic concerns are weighing heavily on American youth, with more than 8 in 10 respondents aged 13-17 worried about what things cost today.
Digital devices are a key priority to this group. Tech tools now trump things like vacations and other forms of entertainment, as far as saving goes, and are almost on par with the traditional dream of owning a car. JWT’s research confirms this, with around 7 in 10 U.S. respondents aged 13-17 reporting they would be upset if they had to give up their cell phone, compared to around 4 in 10 for activities like attending sporting events or renting movies.
As anxiety about the cost of living run high—our research found that many members of Gen Z feel the cost of things today, for instance, is only going to get worse—brands can help this cohort navigate the new normal by offering more ways to access their products and services (e.g. more pared-down offerings, low-commitment ways to sample the brand and cheaper tech tools).