How Close Are Gen Z & Millennials to the Return of “Normal”?

As much as Gen Z and Millennials leaned into their homebody status during 2020, they also clearly missed experiences—which they were driven by pre-pandemic. Now, as Gen Zers get vaccinated and feel more safe, it’s not just their plans but their behaviors that are truly shifting, as pre-pandemic activities make their return among these generations. 
YPulse has tracked how online shopping has increased significantly in the last year, but it’s evident that young consumers are also ready to do some in-store shopping as well, with 61% of 13-39-year-olds feeling comfortable with shopping in-person, and that number staying relatively steady between May and June. 


The numbers who say they’re comfortable with going out to eat at restaurants, going to see movies in theaters, travelling by plane, going out to bars, and going to sporting events and concerts have all increased in the last month. The rapid change in attitude is certainly something that brands and businesses should take as a positive sign. These numbers will likely only increase over the next months.  


Gen Z will continue their affinity for the convenience of online shopping. But after a year of staying home, they are beginning to find the new balance of getting out more.



Which of the following activities are they currently comfortable doing?






Source: YPulse, June 22, 2021 

The Creator Economy Comes of Age as a Market Force

The maturation of social media as platforms of influence has brought about a new type of business – that of content creator. These new entrepreneurs create content and publish it directly to their followers through YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, Roblox, or any one of the dozen or so mainstream social media platforms.


Unlike previous generations of content creators, they often don’t use agents to market their content and rarely involve middlemen to help them make it. They’re enabled by new tools and platforms – like copyright-free music so they don’t get copyright-trolled – and advanced features to create high-quality video and photo content that fans see as more creative and authentic than anything conceived by traditional media executives.


With the economy regaining momentum post-pandemic, brands are clamoring to collaborate with this subset of influencers, who today wield more economic sway than ever before, especially when it comes to the disposable income of Gen Z. Indeed, the movement was strengthened further by COVID-19, when people were at home, bored, and looking for entertainment.


Is this just a different version of “the influencer marketing bubble” that marketers predicted would pop a few years ago, or are we looking at something new, with lasting power?


The long tail of the creator economy


The creator economy comprises some 50 million creators, approximately 2.3 million of whom earn enough to make it a full-time job, but the revenues are far from evenly distributed. The biggest creators are millionaires, like TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, who is estimated to have earned $4 million in a 12-month period. But behind the lucky few comes a long tail of barely paid workers, with almost zero “middle class” creators earning a reasonable income.


On Patreon, only 2% of creators made a federal minimum wage of $1,160 per month in 2017, while on Spotify, artists need 3.5 million streams per year to achieve annual earnings for a full-time minimum-wage worker of $15,080. The vast majority of content creators are essentially toiling for free for platform owners, who pocket billions of dollars annually in ad revenues.


It’s clear that this isn’t a sustainable economy in its current form, but the economic balance of power is changing before our eyes. 


Brand promotions and fan subscriptions


As creators grow a strong following, they become a serious force for brands. In fact,

marketers today are seeing more “engagement” impact for their spend when they work with a wider swath of micro-influencers than with fewer mega-influencers. “We’re finally seeing brands courting creators of all types, not the other way around,” Farbman said. “It gives recognition to the power of talented creators, but it also gives them a revenue stream.”


Today, there are signs that it’s getting easier for passionate creators to build a business based on maintaining a commensurately passionate fanbase, even if their realm of expertise is highly specialized.


Tech giants are rocking in the winds of change


These trends are forcing the big social platforms to change their ways. They’ve essentially built their fortunes on free content from unpaid workers, but now the creators are moving to newer platforms that pay better, and the giants have to compete for content.


Substack lets writers keep 90% of their subscription fees. Twitch gives gamers more than half the fees and a slice of the ad revenue they bring in. Clubhouse has built-in “tips” for hosts and plans to test out features like tickets and subscriptions.


So Twitter and Facebook are following suit. Twitter bought Revue, a newsletter platform, and is charging just 5% commission, while Facebook launched paid subscriptions, enabled tips, and is paying big-draw streaming gamers to join Facebook Gaming, its Twitch rival.


TikTok set up a $2 million creator fund, and Snapchat launched Spotlight, a new discovery feed with its own content sharing features that pays out $1 million every day to top creators. To help build out the Spotlight ecosystem and encourage activity from influencers, Snap is expanding its integrations with third-party apps, with Lightricks serving as a launch partner for this new initiative, which rolled out earlier this month.


The future looks bright for the creator economy


While the creator economy still has plenty of maturing to do, the trends are encouraging. “The more we enable creators to make and monetize their content, the freer they are to connect with audiences on the platforms of their choosing, on their own terms,” said Farbman. “It gives them economic power to build a real business that can actually earn them a living doing what they love.”


As top creators seek out better monetization options that are under their control, they’re blazing the trail for the serfs of the internet to emerge as a new middle class.

Source: Entrepreneur, June 23 2021, Michelle Jones

The Digital Native Generation Is Coming to Crypto Through NFTs

Gen Z, the youngest generation, is called “digital natives.” Unsurprisingly, this generation, born with the internet, is among the most interested in cryptocurrencies.

In a recent study, GamblersPick found that this generation is becoming more involved in the crypto market through non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

While Millennials are still investing the most in crypto, then Z is a close second. The older generations prefer more traditional investment avenues like hedge funds and stocks.

In part, this can be explained by the fact that most of Gen Z are still underage. Therefore they are unable to invest in any capacity, meanwhile the older generations are all adults earning income. However, of the 18-24 year-olds surveyed, the interest in cryptocurrencies is significant.


Born into digitization

Gen Z was born into a world almost completely digitized. For example, when the first iPhone was released in 2007, the oldest Gen Z’s were only 10 years old. When the bitcoin whitepaper was released in 2008, they were 11. As a result, they are primed for a world in which cryptocurrencies and NFTs are becoming more appealing.

“We were interested in seeing what the investing trends were for these newly emerging adults compared to those who are older. We found that 28% of Gen Zers were constantly investing,” explains Joe Mercurio, project manager for the research.

“It’s definitely interesting to see the different trends that influence Gen Z compared to other generations, such as the influence of social media. Gen Z ranked highest for investing in meme investments and in cryptocurrencies compared to other generations,” he says.


An introduction through NFTs

The oldest Gen Z’s have been over 18 for around six years. However, most are still in their early stages of earning income. This has coincided with the rise of NFTs.

Major NFT sales have grabbed headlines in 2021, from Jack Dorsey’s NFT tweet to Beeple’s record-breaking art sale.

The opportunities that NFTs represent are massive. Sports franchises sell highlight reels, YouTube celebrities sell their videos, and artists sell their work on the digital marketplace. 

“We were interested in learning more about generational investment habits because we understand that for new investors, it is a way for one to potentially increase their net worth. With recent events with GME and the crypto markets, we’ve heard reports that people may be ‘gambling’ with their money, particularly newer investments,” explains Mercurio.


NFTs, memes rather than stocks

Older generations said they invested for long-term stability. Meanwhile, Millennials and Gen Z are more inclined to do so for social causes, including undermining traditional financial institutions.

Anecdotally, this has already had an impact, as seen with the GameStop hype. Building from a Reddit community, investors on Robinhood ran up the price of GameStop to harm bigger investors who had shorted the stock.

This grassroots, social media influence was found among those surveyed as well.  “Our findings show that Gen Z seems to be the most influenced by social media, especially from Reddit where 40% reported being influenced. From what our findings show, we believe that this online presence is a trend that will continue on throughout the future of investments for not only Gen Z but for all generations,” explains Mercurio.

Fang argues that Gen Z has grown up in spaces they find solace in, including gaming and memes, both of which are far more familiar to them than a traditional stock market. This then drives them towards NFTs, which are closely related to games and memes.


Context matters

While the findings of age-based studies provide some insight, variables are missing from the overall picture. These include geographical and socio-economic differences between people of the same age group.

In the instance of NFTs and cryptocurrencies, a base requirement would be access to the necessary technology. So Gen Z’s in Europe and the United States can easily be involved in these investment streams. However, whether their counterparts in other parts of the world are unclear.













Source: Yahoo Finance, June 28 2021, Nicholas McGregor