Generation ‘C’? Predictions About the Pandemic’s Impact on Gen Z and the Next Generation

blond boy wearing a mask with arms crossed with usatoday logo above

USA TODAY Interviewed Me About What the Pandemic Means for the Youngest Generations

  • The coronavirus is the Generation Defining Moment for Gen Z
  • What we name the next generation is less important than their perspective of the pandemic
  • CGK’s research is already providing clues about what comes next

As a Gen Z researcher and author of the soon-to-be-released book Zconomy, I spoke with USA TODAY about how the pandemic is impacting generations differently. It is already clear that the COVID-19 is profoundly impacting Gen Z. Moreover, there are clear-cut signs as to what it will mean for the generation that comes after.

COVID-19 is the Generation-Defining Moment for Gen Z

There are two requirements for a Generational Defining Moment. One is that they take place at the right time in a generation’s coming of age. The other is the creation of a powerful and unforgettable emotional impact, usually tied to fear and uncertainty. Without a doubt, the coronavirus meets these criteria.

As I told USA TODAY: “We’re not sure that this will be the only event that separates Gen Z from the generation that comes after them, but it is such a profound and important event … it’s by far the top event that we’ve ever studied related to Gen Z.”

My research team and I have already launched new studies in the field at CGK, and our insight into the pandemic’s effects on Gen Z is as current as possible. In fact, we’ve been leading our State of Gen Study every year since 2016! Backed by our team of researchers, I frequently share this knowledge with clients in the form of virtual presentations, strategy sessions, executive briefings, and interactive webinars.

Many Names, One Soon-to-Emerge Generation

As USA TODAY writes in the article, people are describing the next generation as anything from Coronials and Quaranteens to Baby Zoomers and Gen C. Whatever we end up calling them, it is their perspective of the pandemic that is important.

As I noted in the article, “The generation that follows Gen Z will be the first that won’t remember the coronavirus because they were too young or not yet born during the crisis.” Instead, they will learn about it in the history books, in the same fashion as how Gen Z learned about 9/11.

What Comes Next

While the pandemic is ongoing, there are many things we already know for sure. As a country and as a global community, we will not be returning to what life looked like before COVID-19. As I mentioned to USA Today, “The pandemic will likely also lead to structural changes and new norms that the next generation could ultimately benefit from including shifts in online learning, physical workspaces, contactless payment, a vaccine, and other new technology.”

Social distancing and the use of virtual meeting rooms like Zoom, Teams, and WebEx have already begun to shape how we interact, spend money, and work. While the practice of social distancing will eventually wane (we all hope!), the adoption of virtual tools in all aspects of life will only increase faster now. Along with my co-author, Dr. Denise Villa, we write about this extensively in our forthcoming book, Zconomy: How Gen Z Will Change the Future of Business—and What to Do About It.

What Can Leaders Learn and Do Right Now?

As a leader, the pandemic has created a crucial time to take key actions and understand how each generation is experiencing this challenging time—and what to do about it. Leaders need to understand what strategies and tools work best for remote workers and how to drive sales and marketing across generations in the lens of the coronavirus. That is what I’m focused on sharing every day with leaders around the world.

As President of CGK, I’m leading several studies that inform my virtual presentations, interactive strategy and webinar sessions, and executive briefings. These interactive solutions fill in the insights gaps so leaders can quickly make smart, informed decisions to come out of the pandemic with clear momentum.

Contact my team here to learn how our COVID-19 research and unique generational insights can quickly help you and your organization. We are on a mission to help you lead, market, and innovate through this challenging time to emerge stronger.

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