With so much buzz over Millennials growing up, getting jobs, and cornering the real estate scene, it’s no wonder we missed Generation Z sneaking into adulthood. But here they are, all shiny and new—the firstborn of the demographic that came into being between 1997 and 2010 according to Pew Research. They arrive packing ferocious street cred as the first generation to have never experienced the world without the internet, smartphones, and the instant gratification that technology delivers.

The oldest Gen Zers are heading to work while the youngest are 9. The entire generation is younger than Google. Young, mobile, and entrepreneurial, according to Forbes Magazine they are destined to revolutionize the workplace as we know it.

But for now anyway, they’re renting their first apartments

Also known as iGeneration (all 61 million of them), Gen Z’s emergence in the labor force isn’t just disrupting the workplace. They bring very different ideas and expectations to their career -building efforts than their Millennial predecessors and they have their own take on how brands sell. different expectations around how brands sell to them as well.

According to the GeoMarketing.com, by 2020, Gen Z will represent 40 percent of all consumers.

Below are three things property managers and landlords need to know to prepare for this new generation of renters:


More than any generation before it, the availability of technology is a given for Gen Z.

The iPhone isn’t a technological triumph; it’s merely a part of daily life. Because of their unique upbringing, Gen Z representatives excel at online research, have short attention spans—eight seconds, according to Vision Critical—and expect instant results.

Their short attention spans apply to the time they need to absorb content as well as the speed at which they can obtain it. A recent report from IBM and the National Retail Federation (NRF) found that 60 percent of Gen Zers will not use an app or website if it loads too slowly. The same study also found that “access to product information such as peer reviews, product specifications, and vendor ratings, empowers them to be smarter shoppers.” Gen Z-ers seek accurate information that can be easily accessed online via an efficient, visually attractive, website that is optimized for mobile viewing.

Social Media Engagement

Gen Z’s comprehension of social media makes it essential for brands to differentiate marketing and messaging for diverse channels. Research published by Barkley and Futurecast found that 77 percent of Gen Z-ers say they use Facebook more for passive information gathering than active engagement. Gen Z takes to Twitter more often than their millennial predecessors, making Twitter an ideal platform for brands to reach them with immediate, real-time marketing messages such as special offers and articles about new amenities.

Instagram is designed to inspire audiences and compelling images are crucial to reaching Gen Z audiences. Snapchat provides an ideal platform for storytelling through images. Utilizing these platforms to share photos of events and relationships formed within your apartment community is a great way to engage young audiences.

They want luxury

As they enter the rental market, Gen Z has high expectations. They arrive accustomed to upscale features and amenities. Research by student-housing development firm Servitas found that high-end community amenities are among the top trends in student housing, even if student housing residents seldom take advantage of these forms of common spaces.

Once Gen Zers start transitioning from student housing to off-campus rentals, they’ll be looking for amenities similar to those offered in college, such as yoga rooms, outdoor media walls, and infinity pools. They’ll also be seeking mixed-use buildings in busy communities with close access to coffee shops and retail, and they’ll expect to find cutting-edge wireless capabilities in any rental unity they consider.

They want green

Green, sustainable practices are also important to  Gen Z. A study by technology-led cultural consultancy Sparks & Honey found that 76 percent of Gen Zers report that they are concerned about the impact humans have on the planet. While many rental communities have already stepped up their sustainable practices to attract millennial residents, Gen Zers will be looking for energy-efficient appliances, walkability, and bike storage.

They’re young, mobile, and entrepreneurial, and they come from a world that has always known technology. As they enter into the tenant applicant screening process to rent their first homes away from mom and dad, it will be fascinating to learn more about who they are and see what their impact on the world will be.

More fun facts about Gen Z:

Destined to become the most entrepreneurial, conservative, diverse, and educated generation in the world, it’s good to understand Gen Z’s cultural exposure and how it shaped their values in employment-seeking, brand marketing, housing, community involvement and more.

  • Gen Z is the most diverse generation in history. Slightly more than half are non-Hispanic whites. (Pew Research)
  • Gen Z has a deep understanding of how technology can transform the way we work and live. That’s why 80 percent say they aspire to work with cutting-edge technology and 91percent say technology will influence job choice among similar employment offers. Eighty percent say they believe technology and automation will create a more equitable work environment. (Source: Dell)

The Economy:

  • Gen Zers receive $16.90 per week in allowance or $44 billion a year total. (Mintel)
  • Fifty-eight percent of Gen Zers are either somewhat or very worried about the future. (JWT)
  • They have a combined buying power of $43 billion and influence an additional $600 billion of family spending. (Chamber of Commerce)
  • Seventy-seven percent believe they will need to work harder compared to those in past generations to have a satisfying and fulfilling professional life. (Robert Half)

One third would like to retire by the age of 60 but only 17 percent of them think it’s possible. (Robert Half)


  • Gen Zers worry about having the right soft skills and experience for the workforce. Research found that 52 percent are more confident they have the tech skills employers want than they are about non-tech skills. Slightly more than half (57 percent) think their education has prepared them well for future careers. (Source: Dell)
  • The top employee benefits they desire include work flexibility (19 percent), healthcare coverage (15 percent) and training (14 percent). (Future Workplace / Randstad)
  • 93 percent say that a company’s impact on society affects their decision to work there. (i4cp)

As consumers:

  • Sixty-four percent of Gen Zers are more likely than other generations to trust somewhat or completely the content on mobile apps from brands, as well as text messages from brands. (Grail Research)
  • Ninety percent will get their parents’ feedback on the affordability of a planned purchase affordable before going ahead with it. (JWT)
  • Forty-three percent say their family influences their purchasing decisions the most followed by friends (35 percent), friends of friends (23 percent) and celebrities (10 percent). (JWT)
  • Twenty-two percent of surveyed Gen-Z consumers say they trust somewhat or trust completely posts by companies or brands on social networking sites. (Forrester Research)
  • More than 50 percent identify themselves as deal hunters. (Cassandra Report)
  • Sixty-six percent say they want to own both houses and cars in their lifetimes. (Deep Focus)
  • Thirty-four percent say they want brands to reach them on social media and only 13 percent want to be contacted through snail mail. (Deep Focus)
  • Gen Z’s most used tech devices are smartphones (15.4 hours/week), TV (13.2 hours/week) and laptops (10.6 hours/week). (Vision Critical)
  • Sixty percent say they would prefer a cool product over a cool experience compared to 40 percent of Millennials. (Vision Critical)
  • Fifty percent of Gen Zers use their phone to search for a better price while shopping at a retail store. (Gen HQ)
  • Sixty-three percent are concerned when it comes to protecting their identity when paying with a debit or credit card online or in a retail store. (Gen HQ)
  • Thirty-eight percent try to use rewards every time they shop. (EY)
  • Forty-six percent value special offers via email. (EY)
  • Sixty-one percent research products on a mobile phone at least weekly. (Forrester Research)
  • Ninety-three percent of parents say their Gen Z kids influence family spending decisions and household purchases. (Cassandra Report)

Gen Z’s as investors

  • Fifty-seven percent of Gen Zers would rather save money than spend it. ([The Intelligence Group)
  • Seventy-six percent spend money on themselves, while 62 percent save it, 38 percent spend it on things for friends and family, and 10 percent give it to charity. (JWT)
  • Their top financial goals are buying a car (33 percent), paying for education (23 percent) and buying a house (20 percent). (Visa)