After years of Millennial obsession, Gen Z is emerging as a welcome new focus for brands, researchers and marketers.

After years of Millennial obsession, Gen Z is emerging as a welcome new focus for brands, researchers and marketers. “Finally,” is the resounding sentiment. “Something new to talk about!” i-D magazine has launched “how generation z will change the world,” a series of articles, photos and calls to arms. Meanwhile, Dazed & Confused’s new cover features Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams musing on what it’s like to be a teenager. The New York Times recently ran a feature called “Make Way for Generation Z.” In timely fashion, Larry Clark, director of the jarring 1995 movie Kids, has introduced a new equally uncomfortable portrait, this time of Parisian youth, in his latest movie The Smell of Us.

It helps that the group, aged roughly 12-19 years old, is refreshingly different from its Selfie-loving Millennial predecessors. Gen Z, born circa the late ’90s, is the first truly digital native generation—they were practically born with technology in their hands and are constantly connected to the people and content that matter to them.

Gen Z is more interested in using digital tools for social good than social currency, though. Said one young activist in i-D: “We can no longer be in denial about social inequality or political unrest because in an information age it’s thrust in front of our faces.”

And while many have criticized digital “clicktivism,” Gen Zers see its real value. In an i-D  article titled “The revolution will not be televised, it will be tweeted,” the author notes, “There are no more isolated issues or outlier events of police brutality, but instead we can see how endemic and institutionalized it is when it’s all linked under one hashtag.” Gen Z is the most connected generation, and it’s this ability to connect and empathize and rally behind people they only could have found online that gives them strength. It is literally “how Generation Z [and the people who think like them] will change the world.”

Our upcoming trend report will offer a closer look at this group—what do they like? What stresses them out? How do they want to make their mark? We profile a handful of American and British teen influencers in detail, as well as surveying a broad selection of Gen Zers on everything from shopping habits to sexuality.

Stay tuned for our Gen Z report launch—sign up for email updates here.

Image credit: i-D