May 10, 2023

Generation Shift: Publicis Media presents Germany's major cross-gen study

Düsseldorf, May 10, 2023 - Pandemics, war in Europe, inflation, disruption everywhere - what is the crisis doing to people in Germany? Is it changing their life satisfaction, their plans, their values? How are members of different generations coping with the crisis? The media agency group Publicis Media wanted to find out for sure and set up one of the biggest German generation studies of recent years.

The results now available show: Gen Z is not the only one to cause surprises - for example, when it comes to the question of how important the environment and climate are in one's own life. For just over half (51.2%) of respondents, the environment and climate are important or very important. By contrast, significantly more respondents from the baby boomer generation made the same statement, namely 68.8 %. Climate protection and sustainability are important issues for all generations, and they become even more important with increasing age. The volume of public protest does not provide any information about the subjectively perceived relevance.

In terms of shopping behavior, the trend toward online shopping also continues for everyday goods. Almost 20% of Gen Z and 22% of Millennials (Gen Y) buy more than a quarter of these goods online. Even after the pandemic, this trend has persisted or even increased significantly. As far as purchase planning and decisions are concerned, good old offer advertising is proving to be of service to all generations. 35% of Gen Z and 40% of Gen Y use offer advertising for information. Across all generations, these media are therefore number 1 for purchase planning and decisions - despite all digitalization.
Asked about their relationship with advertising, almost one-third of respondents from Gen Z and Gen Y said that they consider it to stimulate purchases. Across the generations, one in two feels that advertising is at least not superfluous.

In the end, all generations have almost the same level of satisfaction with their lives. Gen Y is at the top end with a score of 6.76, Gen Z with 6.49 and Gen X with 6.46 follow ahead of the Baby Boomers at the bottom end with 6.39. A comparison of Gen Y's life satisfaction shows that it has risen from 5.94 points in 2016 (Publicis Millennial Study) to 6.76 points now in 2023, despite the crises. That is an improvement of 13%.

René Lamsfuß, Chief Data Officer Publicis Media: "Our Generation Shift study gives us a comprehensive picture of our society. We find out what moves people, what they think and want, and how they are adapting to the changing conditions. This enables us to develop the right communication and media strategies for our clients even better for the respective generations. Because - this is also a finding of our study - a personalized and sympathetic approach is particularly important for younger people."
112 participants from the Gen Z, Millennials (Gen Y), Gen X and Baby Boomers generations were surveyed in focus groups and in-depth interviews. In addition, over 4,000 population-representative individuals (approximately 1,000 per generation) were surveyed online, particularly about their consumption and media use behaviors.
Specific characteristics describing each generation were identified. In summary, these are:

Baby Boomers: The self-reflective new generation
In their lives, they have freed themselves from the post-war stale, breaking old chains by questioning or challenging society's norms and values. This is still reflected in them today. A free, self-determined life was and is of utmost importance to them. In doing so, they are self-confident and capable of conflict, with little willingness to compromise. When they look back, they are largely satisfied with what they have achieved. If they dare to look ahead, they want to enjoy their life in a relaxed way, free from constraints, enjoy the time you have left. Life motto: No more putting things off, but enjoy life.

Generation X: Individualists on the Way
Life is more than the sum of its parts. Representatives of Gen X are committed and want to play a positive and active role in shaping society. They have high moral standards with a tendency to preserve old values and norms instead of new trends. The generation has a realistic view of the fact that it has not changed the world as it would have aspired to. But it does not free itself from its high ideals, but wants to pass them on to the next generation. For Generation X, individuality, self-determination and flexibility are high values for their own personal development, and Generation X has tried and experimented a lot. Life motto: Make the best of everything now.

Generation Y or Millennials: Quick Decision Makers in a Multioptional World

They are very diverse, colorful, adventurous, open, tolerant and flexible. However, this is also accompanied by a downside, because the generation is also indeterminate and shows a tendency to avoid conflict. This is an indication of an overburdened generation that longs for simplification and fixed structures. It strives for stability in life. Through its actions, it currently shapes the prevailing opinion and mood in society. It seeks direction and orientation in life based on multi-optionality. Life motto: Is the career the way or is the career in the way?

Generation Z: The isolated swarm generation
Gen Z vacillates between social and societal commitment and pure egoism and has a very strong outward orientation. This is also reflected in their avoidance of conflict and problems, because they do not avoid them out of tolerance as with Gen Y, but to keep their own image high. It can be observed that it is more fragile, more vulnerable, more in need of harmony and more concerned with security than previous generations. At the same time, it is demanding, willing to perform and responsible. She also has classic life plans. Life motto: The goal is the goal.
Printable infographics on the study can be found here.

About Publicis Media:
Publicis Media is a business unit of Publicis Groupe ([Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] one of the world's leading communications service providers. Publicis Media includes the global media agencies Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith. Publicis Media helps its clients navigate the modern media landscape and is represented in more than 100 countries with a total of over 23,500 employees. In Germany, Publicis Media is part of Publicis Groupe Germany.

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