Different generations influence the economy in different ways. Sometimes these coincide, sometimes a level of economic activity dominates. Currently Generation Z is seen by many commentators as being especially influential (that is people born in the mid-to-late 1990s to the early 2010s). How precisely is the “GenZ” generation shaping local, regional and national economies?
Looking into these issues is iGen authority and policy advocate Cheyenne Hunt, J.D. An attorney specializing in advocacy and tech policy, Hunt currently serves as a Big Tech Accountability Advocate with Public Citizen.
Hunt explains to Digital Journal: “As a GenZ authority and policy advocate, I believe it is essential to advance a cross-generational understanding of the driving forces behind the post-millennial economy in order for industry to establish best practices and move forward in a meaningful and impactful way.”
As to the generation at hand, Hunt explains: “GenZ, the “iGen” demographic cohort born between 1997 and 2012, is the first to grow up fully immersed in technology. As such, we “Zoomers” are known for a high level of digital savviness that has underpinned their unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit—and their abrogation from societal norms.”
While there are a myriad of behaviors and beliefs that heavily influenced GenZ’s economic decisions, there are a select group of specifics that dominate. Hunt sees these as cutting across four economic sectors. These are:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Industry
According to Hunt: “GenZ is highly interested in the AI industry and its potential to revolutionize various sectors, such as healthcare, education and transportation. According to a survey by Deloitte, 51 percent of GenZ respondents said they are interested in a career in technology, this includes degrees in computer and information sciences rising 38 percent from 2015 – 2019.”
Hunt also considers the important role this technology will play going forwards: “Furthermore, a report by the World Economic Forum predicts that AI will create 58 million new jobs by 2023. GenZ is well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities and shape the future of the AI industry.”
With the next iteration of the Internet, Hunt finds: “GenZ has a strong interest in the Web3 industry, which includes decentralized technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrency and smart contracts. They see the potential of Web3 to create a more decentralized and transparent internet, where data is controlled by the users instead of a handful of big tech giants.”
Backing this up, Hunt cites: “According to a survey by Chainalysis, 64 percent of GenZ respondents said they own or have owned cryptocurrency, compared to only 22 percent of millennials. Furthermore, a report by Gartner predicts that by 2025, the business value added by blockchain will reach $3.1 trillion. GenZ is poised to play a vital role in shaping the future of the Web3 industry.”
Natural Resource Energy Economy
Concern with green issues stands strong, as Hunt observes: “GenZ cares deeply about the environment and the impact of human activities on climate change. They understand the need to transition to a more sustainable energy economy that is based on renewable resources.”
This is supported by survey data: “According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 69 percent of GenZ respondents said they are worried about climate change, compared to 59 percent of millennials. Furthermore, a report by the International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy sources could account for 90 percent of the world’s power generation by 2050. GenZ is well positioned to lead the transition to a more sustainable energy economy.”
Social Media Economy
Because GenZ is highly active on social media and is well-versed in the workings of the social media economy, this also represents an attractive area.
Here Hunt finds: “They understand the power of influencer marketing and the role of these platforms in shaping public opinion. According to research, GenZ is 59 percent more likely to connect with brands online than other generations. Furthermore, a report by Business Insider predicts that the global influencer marketing industry will be worth $15 billion by 2023. GenZ is poised to shape the future of the social media economy through their participation as influencers and consumers.”