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Gen Z will outnumber millennials by 2020

A Bloomberg analysis of UN data says the coming generation will eclipse millennials, once viewed as the largest and most powerful generation since the baby boomers. This Bloomberg graphic depicts the Gen Z demographics by region.

A Bloomberg analysis of UN data says the coming generation will eclipse millennials, once viewed as the largest and most powerful generation since the baby boomers. This Bloomberg graphic depicts the Gen Z demographics by region.

Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials, who will account for a 31.5 percent share.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which analyzed United Nations data using 2000/2001 as the generational split.

People born in 2001, who have never known a non-digital world, will turn 18 next year, meaning many will enroll in college and be eligible to vote.

"The key factor that differentiated these two groups, other than their age, was an element of self-awareness versus self-centeredness," according to “Rise of Gen Z: New Challenge for Retailers,” a report by Marcie Merriman, an executive director at Ernst & Young LLP.

Millennials were "more focused on what was in it for them. They also looked to others, such as the companies they did business with, for solutions, whereas the younger people naturally sought to create their own solutions,” Merriman wrote.

The demographic handover is good news for some industries, including delivery services and “gadget makers,” Bloomberg said.

But it presents new challenges to educators, event planners, and “even golfers,” an industry where the average age exceeds 50 — the same as the boating industry.

"Each generation comes with a unique set of behaviors and presents a unique set of challenges for those looking to reach them," according to a report by research firm Nielsen Holdings. "Gen Z are bombarded with messages and are a generation that can quickly detect whether or not something is relevant to them."

“Politically, socially, technologically and economically, we are moving at warp speed,” Merriman wrote. “These changes have created a generation very different than any known before. Retailers, and in fact all businesses, hoping to connect to these savvy consumers and their already $44 billion in purchasing power need to understand who they are, what they want and how they want it.”

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