New York, March 16, 2022 – Cassandra, ENGINE’s insights and strategy group that studies trendsetting young consumers, is releasing a new trends analysis, “Re(value)ation: A Pandemic Mired in Political Mayhem Makes Gen Z Rethink Everything.” Based upon Cassandra’s longitudinal research of this generation, the report examines their values and the implications as Gen Z restructures society as we know it.
It’s not a taboo for Gen Z to love and appreciate the self above all. When asked “What relationship is most important to you at this point in your life?” 27% of Gen Z said “self,” which comes in higher than their parents (21%), friends (13%) or significant others (22%).
Achievement, self-direction, and security continue to be Gen Z’s top three values— both before and after the pandemic. However, since the start of the pandemic, Gen Zs have discovered that achievement might be nice, but it is not everything. Cassandra finds that Gen Zs are questioning what is security or achievement, and they’re thinking critically of what it even means to contribute to well-being.
Cassandra also reports the emergence of “optimistic nihilism” among this generation. Gen Z’s values have shifted – rather than categorizing many values as “important,” they rank values closer to neutral at a significantly greater level than pre-pandemic.
“At Cassandra, we’ve been tracking values since before the word pandemic was part of our daily lives,” said Kathy Sheehan, Senior Vice President, Cassandra. “We’ve observed a significant drop in the overall importance of values as Gen Z continues to question everything. This has been a unique moment for an entire generation to reflect on values as the breakdown of social norms becomes commonplace, and as a result Gen Zs are now reconstructing and reassessing everything.”
These lasting social shifts are also making an impact on brands’ narratives. The report examines a few different brands that are reflecting on the values shifts of Gen Z in their most recent communications:
Gen Z wants to see their values reflected in (and opinions respected by) brands. Ahead of Toms launch for its ‘Mallow’ shoe – the brand’s first shoe specifically targeted at Gen Z – Toms partnered with young creators known for their advocacy for racial justice and intersectional feminism. Rather than shying away from taking a stand or making a statement, the brand leaned into it with the help of young activists like Gabrielle Richardson (also known as @fridacashflow) and Candace Reels.
Hyper-aware of the confusing times that are causing us to rethink currency, crypto exchange FTX leaned into the society-wide trend of questioning everything. The company’s Super Bowl crypto ad acknowledged their products’ consumer hesitancy and future unknowns. In a rather brilliant move, it starred Larry David, an active spokesperson against crypto, which felt metaconscious as it opens up space for crypto discourse.
Cassandra, ENGINE’s insights and strategy group, studies trendsetting young consumers, revealing the key characteristics and strategies that drive the relationship between influencers and consumers.
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