Individuality as a Priority: 2010s Generation, their Interests and Preferences

The style of Billy Elish can be a perfect example of the victory of a new understanding of attractiveness: the singer appears in exceptionally baggy clothes. Madonna’s provocative outfits are impossible, unthinkable to her.

In general, hilosophers and futurologists have been entertaining the audience with amazing but disturbing news. Centennials, or Generation Z, those young people from 10 to 25 years old, are a sort of aliens. McKinsey predicts that Z will represent 40% of global consumers this year, and it’s important that brands adapt in order to stay relevant.

When a person is born, he tries everything for the first time and for the first 10-15 years he completely fills, shapes his world and rethinks the experience of previous generations. And centenials have grown into a brave new world with open borders.

Multitasking, practicality / pragmatism, caution, trusting partnerships with parents and the importance of friendship, accelerated growing up, technical and informational literacy — what other features are characteristic for the 2010s generation?

Age Psychology for Dummies

Psychologists say that from a year to three, a child studies interaction.

At least according to the textbooks, he grabs the subject and begins to beat them with all his strength one to the other not because he wants to break it; if in the cartoon one character of hit another on the head or someone slipped on a banana skin — this is funny, this is not about violence. A person gets to understand the world this way, and at this age, everything needs to be explained through interaction.

From 3 to 6 years, the child, having watched a cartoon, begins to portray and reimagine everything that he saw, and here there are pirates, dragons and other heroes and antiheroes.

Inside a teenager, an internal revolution is boiling.

From 14 to 17 years it is common to deny the old authorities and to disagree with everyone and everything, because everything just appears to be wrong. And this need for change relates to a different content. The animation industry offers a cartoon about Mr. Freeman for this audience.

Rejection of violence

From 6 to 18 years, a person begins to build himself within the society, actively adjusting to the environment. It is not easy to communicate with younger students: they perceive everything openly and honestly. And if  it was said in a children’s fairy tale that a vilian’s head was cut off and this was perceived as an evil getting an inevitable punishment. Today it is violence. And neither adults nor children accept violence anymore. This is partly explained with the high importance and value of personal freedom, which implies respect and ethical relationships.

By the way, deviant behavior has become statistically less characteristic: in comparison with millenials, the number of antisocial acts has decreased significantly.

According to the CEO of Toonbox studio and creator Mr. Freeman Paul Muntyan, “Preteens, ten-year-olds are a difficult age, because they are not yet teenagers, but they are already not quite children. They are not interested in cartoons, attention is switched to films and bloggers. Moreover, if before the children of this age, street communication taught a lot, now they get the bulk of their knowledge outside the school from the Internet. And this is a solid mess, which only with time will be raked by the brain: what is needed and what is not; what is true and what is fake; what is valuable and what is useless. Yes, they do not know the world without the Internet, but there will be no more generations without the Internet! As, for example, there are few people who remember the world without television. And living without electricity, already completely gone. And now what?

About love and the checkout area

Economically speaking, preschoolers and children from 7 to 10 years old are the most buying audience. Checkout areas in shops have been designed mainly for them, with a wide selection of bright marmalade and all kinds of sweets. And parents, as a rule, simply cannot refuse. If the brand won the heart of a child at this age, then “every tear of a baby turns into a coin”. Therefore, it is highly important to communicate with this audience.

Progress in technology has allowed us to take a position where we can demand an individual approach, regardless of the interaction channels. Today’s ten-year-olds not only grew up with the Internet, but were born with accounts on social networks and above all cherish self-expression and inner growth above all.

Being immune to advertising, since it is like white noise since childhood and they learned to filter its messages, this part of the community will definitely not give such a significance to brands as older consumers. For the younger generation, such qualities as being environmentally friendly, a potential for personal development and social responsibility are the key.

MAGRAM Market Research together with PBN Hill + Knowlton Strategies conducted a marketing research on what is special about millennials and Generation Z as consumers. Due to their age, centenials are only at the beginning of the consumerist journey, but their buying choice is already obvious – brand-new products, ideally using innovative technologies. In addition, the researchers imply the young generations do not reside at all in the virtual world: tactile sensations are important and bring important and positive emotions.

Personal growth and planning horizon

Man’s best friend is no longer a dog, but a smartphone. From a means of conversation, it turned into «all at once» — a navigator, financial instrument, medical card, newspaper and television.

A large amount of information entails requirements for how it is presented. Time is a great value — an axiom for centennials. It is convenient to perceive a concentrated short text with pictures, that is, preference is given to a mini-format with maximum benefit. Meanwhile, if the question is of particular interest, a longread is also possible (preferably with illustrations anyway).

The world is rapidly changing, some professions are disappearing and new ones are appearing, therefore Generation Z cherish permanent self-education, while the planning horizon is getting shorter.

According to CommScope, the profession of video blogger, vlogger, on Youtube seems to be the most attractive for Generation Z — 37% of respondents dream of such a career and popularity. Second place (35%) goes to a software developer.

In order to convey the necessary information to the centenials, sociologists recommend abandoning references to authoritative sources or traditions, talking about the future and prospects. The effective way of interaction is to explain, discuss, give arguments.

The truth for Z is something confirmed with not one but several sources (for example, a blogger wrote about this and there is also a video with the same point).

Natural beauty

Beauty standards are drawn from social networks where ideal, retouched perfection photos give way to self-acceptance and natural beauty, promoting tolerance and body-positive. “Although Instagram is accused of developing anxiety and depression, it has a good side,” explains Chloe Combi, author of Generation Z: Their Voices, Their Lives. “Each person in this social network creates his own media, and together people can gradually change the standards of beauty that once seemed unshakable.”

So children in both the real and the virtual world begin to see people as they are, which further erodes the boundaries of these two worlds. They do not divide life into online and offline, in their perception the network is just another opportunity to chat and get information. By the way, it was precisely the tendency to perceive beauty as art to be natural that led the Victoria’s Secret brand to decline: modern discourse is closer to Dove and Fenty, who say that any body is beautiful.

A successful case for joining the two realities is when Sephora combined physical makeup workshops with virtual makeup selection via touch screens.


In people, centenials value individuality and authenticity. The benchmark for retail is being open to every new trend and the possibility of customization.

The value of friendship

According to the psychotherapist and author of the book “The Fate of Friendship” by Wolfgang Krueger, the role of friendship in a person’s life has significantly increased over the past 30 years: “Family ties are weakening more and more, and we are looking for support from friends, not from parents, brothers and sisters and other relatives. »

Mental health care is a modern trend, one of the main problems is the feeling of loneliness.
Friendly ties in this regard are becoming more valuable and important. What does friendship look like today? Through communication using emojis, pictures and videos, you can achieve greater clarity than text.

Baby boomers most often choose the LinkedIn platform, at least ten times more often than the 2010s generation. Millennials and the previous generation prefer WhatsApp, while centennials rely on WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat for communication. However, the latter is popular among all age groups.

The behavior in social networks is changing towards a more cautious and prudent. Ten-year-olds share less information. Moreover, we are not talking about the rejection of social networks, they are perceived as a natural continuation of communication. But careful selection and filtering is taking place, since it is well known which scandal can erupt if one makes a mistake in his public statement. Chloe Combi, a journalist and author of «Generation Z: Their Voices, Their Lives», agrees: «Generation Z is much more careful and thoughtful about what they say. There is a fear of something wrong and being attacked.»

We expect something new and maybe outrageous from the centenials, but there could be no revolution at all: “I can’t say that they re-think everyday life, because the transition from the world of children’s fantasies to the world of adult reality always has intermediate stages. Inventing reality is a normal state for ten-year-olds. This is a creative age when a child begins to take new interests and learn about various activities on his own, without prompting from the outside. And if this happens, this is wonderful! ” — Muntyan says.

As the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain, we could use the crisis to develop a new and more human economic and social model.

By Larissa Kostrova