Gen Z vs. Millennials: How Different Are They?

Updated: May 23



Millennials and their Gen Z counterparts may be only one generation apart, but the way they each approach brands is more different than you may imagine. In fact, there’s a myriad of research and market surveys conducted over the past few years that demonstrate how these two generations differ in relation to brand interaction.

How They View Brands

Gen Z sees brands differently. For Gen Zers, a brand is not just a person or a company offering a product to sell. A brand is seen as an extension of their life, a mirror in which they can view and recognize themselves. In order to reach Gen Z consumers, a brand must then deliver a container of values and promises that are in line with each Gen Zer’s individual personality.

Gen Z individuals also see brands as more than just a logo. Rather than focusing on the appeal of a recognizable logo, Gen Zers choose brands because they feel a sense of pride in their alignment with the brand’s values. Perhaps they’ve seen the people behind the brand act in a very specific way, like incorporating sustainable practices, backing their favorite sports teams, or showing their support for LGBTQ communities. In one way or another, the choice brands of Gen Zers are supporting initiatives that promote young talent or present favorable public figures and celebrities as influencers.


Of course, Millennials also consider many of the same elements when choosing a brand, in addition to factors purely related to the product itself. But Gen Z was born and grew up with this approach to brands, while Millennials may have only acquired certain attention to these aspects over time. Millennials are less reactive or sensitive to some of these issues, partly because they may be less affected simply as a result of being part of a generation born and raised under different circumstances.


Gen Zers and Millennials, therefore, have quite different approaches to the ways they view and support brands. So, if you would like to reach one of these specific age groups, what differences should you take into account when thinking about a new brand or marketing and distribution strategy that targets either Millennials or Gen Z?


Brand Loyalty

As Gen Z now begins entering the workforce, studies show that the way Gen Zers spend their savings is very different from that of Millennials. Why? The concept of loyalty to a brand comes into play. Even though Gen Z follows brands based on certain values and actions, they also shift their alliances from one brand to another much more frequently than Millennials. This is because impulse buying is much more common among Gen Zers than Millennials. As a result, a focus on value for money is among the top considerations of this particular age demographic.


Influencer Marketing

Influencers play a very important role in Gen Zers’ considerations when it comes to purchasing, as well. Because Gen Z individuals place their trust in certain influencers, if a favorite influencer recommends a product, it’s more likely to lead to a Gen Zer purchasing that product. In fact, this generation places the most trust in influencers overall, even when considering other generations beyond Millennials as a direct comparison. Furthermore, many Gen Z shoppers make purchases as a direct result of seeing a product in a TikTok post.


These are just some of the differences and commonalities between Gen Zers and Millennials. Read part 2 of our dive into the differences and similarities between these two generations here.


At Octonano, we guide strategy for marketing and branding, taking into account the many variables that come with reaching different age groups and generations. Reach out to us to learn how we can help with your branding strategy or omni-channel marketing strategy.