New research released from The Gild, a global brand consultancy, shows that Generation Z (born 2001 or later) are more conservative than their Baby Boomer (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1980) and Millennial (1981-2000) forebears.
On same-sex marriage, transgender rights and marijuana legalisation, 59% of Gen Z respondents described their attitudes as being between “conservative” and “moderate,” while 83% of Millennials and 85% of Gen X respondents were instead ‘quite’ or ‘very liberal’.
In fact, one in seven (14%) of Gen Z took a conservative stance on these issues, higher than Millennials (2%), Gen X (1%) and Baby Boomers (11%) and surpassed only by the Silent Generation (34%), who were born in 1945 or earlier.
And on tattoos, body piercings and other body adornments, Gen Z is more likely to hate them (11%) than Millennials (2%) and Gen X (6%).
The Generation Study analysed the attitudes of over 2,000 people across the UK to determine which generation people “belong to” on particular issues, versus their actual generation as defined by birth date.
When it came to saving and spending, respondents challenged conventional perceptions of older generations as the most prudent and younger generations as the high spenders. Baby Boomers (39%), Gen X (61%) and Millennials (53%) were the most likely to spend what they have “on life in the now” and felt they didn’t save as much as they should.
Yet Gen Z were shown to be a generation of savers having grown up post-financial crash, with 25% saying they would rather save for the future than spend money they don’t have and 22% saying they never spend on “unnecessary, frivolous things” because saving is so important. These attitudes were shared with the Silent Generation, with 43% and 25% of respectively.
Attitudes to technology proved to be cross-generational. When asked to describe their relationship with technology, just under half of Silent Generation respondents (48%) stated that they could not imagine their life without technologies like the Internet, their laptop, or mobile but would not describe themselves as a “techie person.” Millennials (33%), Gen X (35%) and Baby Boomers (44%) were most likely to share this attitude. Digital natives Gen Z were the exception, being the most likely to say they “couldn’t live without it” (27%) or describe themselves as a “tech enthusiast” (29%).
The findings go on to suggest that traditional generational stereotypes are outdated, with respondents repeatedly defying conventional wisdom about their attitudes and behaviours. The research also highlights commonalities and differences between generations that may have been previously overlooked.
Andrew Mulholland, managing director at The Gild comments: “Within each generation, there are wide divisions in politics, culture and taste. And across generations, there are attitudes that bridge young and old together. Treating the attitudes typically associated with terms like ‘Millennial’ or ‘Gen Xer’ as belonging strictly to one age range shows a lack of awareness of who people really are and how they really behave, in all their nuance and variety.
“We need to move past the recent trend of ‘Millennial Fever,’ where the term ‘Millennial’ has become a lazy, if convenient, shorthand for some vague notion of achingly cool, social media-savvy 20-somethings who refuse stable careers and drink smoothies all day. And Gen Z may not be quite what you were expecting, as the data shows that they are more conservative than Millennials, Generation X and even Baby Boomers.”
“Generations sketch out broad, loosely dotted, overlapping circles. If we want to truly understand each other, we need to look more deeply at the attitudes, lifestyles, motivations, and behaviours of the diverse range of people who make up these generations.”
Source: The Gild