The next generations are on their way: GEN Y + Z + Alpha

GEN Z (2001-2015) is globally wired and wise, GEN Y (1986-2000) is open-minded and curious. It is common to identify generations to get grip on the zeitgeist and to unravel future directions. We better take upcoming generations serious and speed up with reality as 75% of the global workforce will be taken by Millennials (gen Y) in 2020. It is time to share some insights about the next generations.

Lifestyle design

The experience economy is booming. Studies generally point out that GEN Y rather spend money and time on experiences than material goods: from concerts and social events to cultural experiences and travels of all kinds. However, nowadays these experiences are not solely activities during the weekends or holidays. They are increasingly interwoven into the daily lives of young people.

Lifestyle design is the term for this new way of living. It literally means designing your life the way you want it to be and reclaiming your time. Be it by doing your job remotely and abroad, becoming a freelancer and planning your own time, or building an online business and moving to the other side of the world. The concept of lifestyle design is more flexible and allows you to test different lifestyles. Without committing to a retirement plan that can fail due to market fluctuations outside of your control. For the next generations, acquiring things no longer dictates them class or status in life. Gen Y and Z are simply enjoying experiences over things and access over ownership.

Purpose and protest

The internet and social media have made GEN Z and Y more conscious and concerned about world events. They have grown up expressing themselves online by highlighting causes they care about: climate change, gender fluidity, social responsibility and more. These generations are already guiding older generations and brands in how to be inclusive and have a responsible purpose. Probably the most known person of gen Z is Greta Thunberg. She went viral for going on a weekly school strike in 2018 to protest lawmakers’ inaction in response to the climate emergency. Or an more recent example: environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion, where mostly young people are gaining ground in the climate battle and push for action across the globe.

Digital natives

Gen Z-ers have grown up in a digital-first society and are hyperconnected. They are defining a new era of influence and creative communication while using visual tools like face swaps, selfies, AR lenses on platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram. Today’s teens are certainly setting a new tone for visual culture by mixing selfies with spoken word and the creation of imperfect collages. The era of posed photos against beautiful Instagram backdrops is over. Gen Z is using video, sound, animation and more to create rich new visual landscapes and highlight causes they care about.

Gen Alpha

At Fronteer we are already looking ahead at the next wave of youngsters: Gen Alpha (anyone born after 2015). For them, technology is not just a tool to help achieve tasks but deeply integrated in into parts of everyday life. They are mentioned as the generation that will seek to bend the digital world to their needs and ambitions and not be defined or consumed by it like their ancestors. 

Are you ready for gen Y, Z, and Alpha? Do you want to discover what these shifts in generations mean for your brand or company? At Fronteer we always build a deeper understanding of the zeitgeist as starting point for designing the best solution.


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