GenerationZ like their phones, that much we know. And their tablets, laptops, iPad Minis and all the rest. Lots of them have five electronic devices and they can switch from one to the other with disturbing speed and focus.

What happens when you take the devices away?

At one level all hell breaks loose. A report by the Center for Generational Kinetics showed that being away from their phone stressed GenZers. Specifically, over 30% of them would be stressed if they were parted from their phone for just half an hour. And don’t even think about touching their phone without permission – that would stress over 40% of them.

So GenZ are about one step away from having electronic devices implanted into their bodies. Yet they know – and the mental health figures show – that what comes through those devices can be very bad for them as well as very good. Along with the updates, the data, the insights and everything else, those screens also bring them things to worry about and fear – everything from global pandemics to bullying and grooming.

It is a commonplace to point out that GenZ view the internet with about as much wonder as we view electricity, that they spend up to eight hours a day online, that – as we highlighted – they are incredibly protective of their devices. How many parents have moaned that their offspring seem to spend all their lives online? Yet they don’t.

And it’s what they do offline, IRL (In Real Life), that is interesting. Research on CEOs shows that in their valuable spare time they like to go fly fishing or skiing or something. The common thread is that they are pastimes that don’t involve talking to people. What if we find the thread for what GenZ do offline?

So what do they like to do? Unlike the previous generations (not us, obviously…) they don’t get blind drunk much, take drugs or indulge in poor-choice activities like teenage unprotected sex.

But they do like to read. Not so much ebooks, but real books, with a slight preference for hardbacks. They like to listen to music. And again they will use Spotify or similar but they are also helping resurrect the market in turntables, vinyl and even, for some reason, cassette tape music. What links those? There are no screens.

They seem to like 1990s clothes, buy things previously owned, like to keep fit (in marked contrast to Millennials), like to read and listen to music.

Does that make them sound too good to be true? If it does just remember that they’d also like your job. Very soon indeed.

“They are perhaps the most brand-critical, bullshit-repellent, questioning group around.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are Millennials on steroids.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are self-starters, not selfie-takers.”

Lucozade Energy report

“Millennials– Self-centred. Generation Z – Self-aware.”

Ernst & Young

“Generation Z characterises itself by highlighting the need for passion and motivation in their work.”

Claire Stradling, Manager of Charities and NFP