Five Factors Defining Generation Z

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Generation Z born from 1995 to 2009, were shaped in the era that society started looking at screens more than at faces. 

Therefore, many of the names given to this generation highlight the impact of the digital era on their formative years: the net generation; screenagers, click n go kids, the igen, the Ygen, generation connected, Google generation, the digital natives, the kids.

Not only is technology globally ubiquitous, but we as humans are significantly outnumbered by technologies. 

Today there are almost 50 billion connected devices on the planet - that is seven times larger than the number of people!

This generation of children and teenagers will comprise almost one third of the entire workforce within a decade. 

Five factors defining Generation Z

Digital change is constant, ubiquitous and fast. 

There have been periods of intensive change in history before, of course. But unlike other periods of significant upheaval – the agricultural or industrial revolutions, for example – the digital revolution has no borders or boundaries. Half of the world now use a smartphone, and 75% have access to a mobile device. 

What's more, emerging economies are adopting technologies as fast – or in some cases faster – than developed parts of the world. For example, 12% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have a mobile money account, while globally only 2% do.

Generation Z are our first truly global generation. 

Not only are the music, movies, and celebrities global as has been the case for previous generations, but through our global connectedness so are their fashion, foods, entertainment, social trends, and communication patterns.

Generation Z are truly social in nature. 

If social media sites were countries, Facebook would be the largest at 1.5 billion, followed by China at 1.4 billion, India at 1.3 billion and Instagram at 400 million.

Generation Z are mobile. Constantly on the go, moving from place to place – they are moving homes, jobs, and careers faster than ever before. 

Today’s school leaver is expected to have 17 jobs across 5 careers and live in 15 homes in their lifetime.

Generation Z are visually engaged. 

YouTube is a close 2nd global search engine, and more than 100 hours of content gets uploaded every minute. If you were to watch just the content that has been put up this week, it would take you 115 years.


For more information on our research and visualisation services, please feel free to check out our Research Pack, or get in touch!

P: 02 8824 3422


What's in a surname?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The vast majority of women still take their husbands surname after marriage.

So, where does the tradition of taking the husband’s surname come from and how has it evolved over the years?

This tradition goes back many hundreds of years, to patriarchal times when it was almost unquestioned that a woman would take on the husband’s name. However, since then we’ve certainly seen a lot of change.

Across Western Europe, even if a bride might socially take on their spouse’s name, people keep their maiden names for life. In China the tradition of changing a name after marriage is not commonplace, and in Russia it is very uncommon to take on a new surname after the wedding.

In the Spanish-speaking world, it is very common to adopt both the mother’s and father’s name, and give their children a double-barrelled name.

What about in Australia?

Australia is quite conservative, with more than 80% of brides taking on the groom’s surname. About 10% of women keep their own name and this number is growing, particularly as women study later, engage in more education, and get established in their career longer before getting married.

Watch the full interview including real-life case studies below.

Merry Christmas from McCrindle

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Merry Christmas, Australia!

Especially to the 305,377 newborn Australians experiencing their first Christmas and the 6,268 enjoying their 100th (or more) Christmas!

We hope you enjoy unwrapping the technological, experiential, and jewellery gifts you are hoping for this year. Enjoy decorating your Christmas tree, which would be over 8 million Christmas trees if every household in Australia had one! 

From all of us at McCrindle we hope you enjoy the infographic we have created, and that amidst the busyness of the season you have time to connect with family and friends, reflect on the Christmas story and enjoy the many things that make this country great.

Have a Merry Christmas, and a fantastic 2018!

- The McCrindle Team

Redefining Sydney’s urban lifestyles

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

It was a pleasure to partner with Urban Taskforce Australia to produce the “Sydney Lifestyle Study”, launched to a room of urban developers, government representatives, and industry stakeholders this week.

The 2017 Sydney Lifestyle Study is a first-ever research study on Sydney’s apartment dwellers. Insights from the ABS and a new survey of 1,503 Sydney residents shed light on the different demographic segments in Sydney apartments and their lifestyle choices, habits, motivations and reasons for choosing apartment living.

Click here to download the full report.

Sydney’s changing lifestyles

Australia in the 1990s

A lot has changed in Australia over a very short period of time. Over a quarter of a century ago, in the year 1991, the population of Australia had just surpassed 16 million.

  • The median age was 32 years old and median individual income was just $13,950 per annum.
  • More than one in three (36%) Australians lived in New South Wales where individual income was slightly higher at $14,395.
  • Home owners in New South Wales paid a median monthly mortgage repayment of $627 while renters paid just $128 per week.

Modern Sydney

Fast-forward to today and the Australian population is on track to reach 25 million persons in early 2018.

  • That’s more than 50% higher than in 1991.
  • Our population has increased our median age to 38, both nationally and in New South Wales.
  • Today, median personal income in New South Wales has reached $34,528 per year while median mortgage repayments have more than doubled at $1,986 per month.
  • Median rent has nearly tripled to $380 per week.

Sydney’s urban lifestyles

Such population growth is changing the housing stock in Sydney. Sydneysiders have been trading traditional detached homes for apartments at an increasing rate. Currently, 30% of all households in Sydney’s urban area now live in apartments.

Sydney’s growing apartment market is comprised of nearly half a million households, representing many diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds.

McCrindle has identified four emerging urban family household types within Sydney’s apartment market. These are Vertical Families, Cosmo Couples, Solo Metropolites and One-Parent Households.

Vertical Families

Vertical families make up one in five apartment households (20%).

They are most likely to be young Gen Ys as nearly two in three (64%) are aged between 23 and 37.

Cosmo Couples

The second emerging family type who are increasingly adopting the apartment lifestyle are urban couples.

The number of couples with no children living in apartments has increased by 21% since 2011 and now represents over one quarter (27%) of apartment households.

Solo Metropolites

Sydney’s largest apartment segment is made up of lone persons (34%).

Three in five are renters (63%) and the largest generation represented are Baby Boomers aged between 53 and 71 (37%).

One-parent families

The fourth urban segment is one of the smallest but by no means insignificant. Single parents with children comprise one in 12 apartment dwellers (8%) in Sydney.

Single parents living in apartments are most likely aged between 38 and 52 (49%).

Sydney’s future forecast

Sydney in 2024

If the current trends observed across Sydney over the past five years continue, the number of traditional detached houses could drop to 49% by as early as 2024.

Filling the gap apartments would then make up 34% of Sydney’s total housing stock. The remaining housing stock (17%) would be made up of semi-detached or terrace housing.

These insights and more can be found in the Sydney Lifestyle Study Report.


For more information on our research and visualisation services, please feel free to check out our Research Pack, or get in touch!

P: 02 8824 3422


Black Friday Sales in Australia

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Black Friday is the retail super-day popular in the US and in 2017 it is November 24. It is the day following the Thanksgiving public holiday and in some states it is an additional holiday. 

All of this has combined to make it the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season, and the biggest single shopping day of the year. 

It has grown significantly over the last decade and last year, more than 100 million Americans went shopping on this one day, ringing up sales exceeding US$50 billion. For many stores, Black Friday and the shopping season launches a revenue boon that pushes revenues into the black, thus the eponymous name.

Without the Thanksgiving marker, or any public holidays, Black Friday is currently not a big event in Australia. In fact this national research we have just conducted shows that less than 1 in 20 Australians (4.7%) are expecting sales, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) have never even heard of it.

40% of Australians say Black Friday doesn’t really happen in Australia and another 39% don’t know.

Most Australians (54%) don’t know whether Black Friday is online only or also in stores.

Cyber Monday, the Monday after Black Friday, popular for online shopping super sales, has even lower awareness in Australia. Considering we are in a global marketplace, used to adopting retail trends from the US, the current low awareness of these sale super-days in Australia may be a surprise. However, the mass engagement with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the US is really only a decade old, and so the years ahead will see a higher profile for these sale days in Australia.

Australians are up for a bargain, whatever the day is called, with 1 in 3 Australians (34%) agreeing that they will definitely be looking out for stores offering discounts. Even without the tradition of these sales, or the associated public holidays, late November presents an ideal opportunity for local retailers to kick start their Christmas sales, and so we can expect to hear more about Black Friday in coming years.

Download the summary report here.

Mark McCrindle in the media

SBS "Will Amazon join Australia's Black Friday party?"

Courier Mail "Black Friday 2017 sales: Australia missing out on best shopping deals because of ignorance"

Gen Z Career Aspirations & the Future of Work

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What do Gen Z aspire to be when they grow up? Social researcher Eliane Miles was recently asked to unpack the latest findings from the Australian Institute on Family Studies on ABC The Drum.

Gender-based career preferences

The research identified there are significant gender differences among Gen Zs aged 14 and 15 when they think about their possible futures. Boys gravitate most towards engineering (14% of those who stated an occupation), information technology (10%), construction (9%), automotive (8%), or sports (6%), while the top five occupations chosen by girls were medical professionals (13%), education professionals (11%), legal (11%), personal services (7%), and performance arts (7%). Just three occupations (health, design, and performance arts) overlapped among both genders when looking at the top ten list.

Girls need more inspiration to move towards STEM

While are naturally career preferences that appeal to each gender (with Eliane’s commentary highlighting that this is strongly linked to parental influence, as shown in our work with the Career Industry Council of Australia), there are challenges that may emerge for women in future-proofing their careers.

We know that Australia’s workforce is at the cusp of significant change. In 2030, the majority of the jobs that we will do (85%, according to Dell Technologies) are not yet invented. Yet 75% of the fastest growing careers require STEM skills – qualifications and skills in science, technology, engineering and maths. As we look across Australia’s educational landscape, just 16% of STEM graduates in our nation are female, highlighting the continuing need to lift the profile of STEM careers for female school-leavers among parents, educators, and media personalities.

Fantasies or a new work order?

There were a disproportionate number of ‘fantasy-type’ occupations listed in the AIFS study, things like ICT (‘games developer’, ‘YouTuber’, and ‘blogger’), sports (professional AFL player), and performing arts (actor, ballet dancer). And, not surprisingly, 41% of young people aged 14 and 15 didn’t have a clue as to what they want to do when they are older.

This uncertainty of the future is to be expected, and not only among Gen Z. In an era of multiple careers, lifelong learning, the gig-economy, in which digital disruption is bringing whole sectors to an end, and new jobs are emerging each year (nanotechnology, virtual reality engineers, user-experience managers, data designers etc.), what will the future of work look like?

Our average length of job tenure is now less than three years, and three in ten workers now work casually or contractually (up from one in ten three decades ago). Today’s school leaver will have multiple jobs (17) across many (5+) careers, and part of their reality on the job is that they will constantly be learning. We all will be. By 2030, workers will be spending at least 30% more time on the job learning.

As the workforce shifts (with 32% of our workforce comprised of Gen Z in a decade’s time), so will our mindsets in regards to careers and the future of work. Yes, Gen Zs will bring idealism and self-assuredness, but they will also bring a new wave of entrepreneurialism that might just be what we need to face disruption and manage change. They, and we all, will need to increase our level of critical thinking, problem solving, and digital skills as we move towards this new reality.

About Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, business strategist and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. From the key demographic transformations such as population growth and the ageing workforce to social trends such as changing household structures and emerging lifestyle expectations, from generational change to the impact of technology, Eliane delivers research based presentations dealing with the big global and national trends. 

If you would like to have Eliane Miles speak at your next event, please feel free to get in touch. 

Download Eliane's full speakers pack here and view her show reel video below.

Newcastle and the Lower Hunter Economy is on the Rise

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Business Performance Sentiment Index (Business PSI), designed by McCrindle, is an ongoing measure of business conditions, performance and sentiment. The Lower Hunter PSI is an initiative of Maxim Accounting with support from NAB.

The Business PSI takes the pulse of business across a region and tracks changes in the health of the local and national economy over time. This edition of the Business PSI (2017) features the latest results for the Lower Hunter region. This report also features longitudinal comparisons to last year’s deployment of the Business PSI (2016).

The Business PSI measures three core business characteristics: business conditions, performance and sentiment. The PSI uniquely charts these measures on a scale that ranges from accelerating on the extreme positive to collapsing on the extreme negative. Each of the three core measures (conditions, performance, and sentiment) are comprised of three sub-measures which are derived from the results of several individual survey questions.

The Lower Hunter region continues to show strong, consistent growth and an optimistic outlook.

One in three households (34%) own their home outright (compared to 32% in NSW and 31% nationally) and the region reports a rise in household income of 45% from 2006 to 2016, compared to Australia which has seen a rise of 39%.

Impressively, this year’s PSI results show that the positive operating condition for businesses in the Lower Hunter have further increased since last year.

This year’s results highlight a continued struggle for businesses against red tape and regulation as well as an expressed concern for local infrastructure provision. These challenges are offset, however, with the expectation of business expansion in 2018 and this positive sentiment in the Lower Hunter economy is the dominant theme in this year’s Business PSI report.

Download the full Lower Hunter PSI report here. 

Download the full Lower Hunter PSI infographic here.

The Rise and Rise of Australia’s Population

Monday, October 30, 2017

Australia has increased its population by one third in the last 20 years, from 18.5 million in 1997 to 24.7 million people currently. But more remarkable is that this record population growth has exceeded all forecasts. 

In 1998, the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicted that, based on low-growth assumptions, Australia’s population would reach 23.5 million people in 2051, a benchmark it went on to achieve in July 2014. The mid-growth forecast of 24.9 million people by 2051 will be reached in the middle of next year, 33 years early! The upper end forecast of 26.4 million, based on high-growth assumptions, will be reached in mid-2021, less than four years away.

What has caused such population growth?

The current growth patterns of Australia will lead us to a population of 38 million by 2051, around 12 million higher than even the high-ball forecasts of the late 1990’s. It’s not that the calculations were wrong, it’s that migration policy changes as well as longevity increases and a solid birth rate have defied the trends that were evident twenty years ago.

Back then it was assumed that the total fertility rate (babies per woman in a lifetime) would remain low. However, today’s TFR of 1.81 is above even the highest assumption allowed for in the 1990’s of 1.75.

It was also thought that life expectancy at birth would hit a high of 82 for males and 86 for females by 2051. However, current life expectancy is already closing in on 81 for males and 85 for females and will reach these 2051 targets decades early.

Net Overseas Migration the biggest growth factor

The biggest growth factor that has blown out previous population modelling has been the rise and rise of Australia’s net overseas migration. In 1998 it was thought that it would grow our population annually by around 70,00, or at the most, 90,000. In the last 12 months, Australia has added 231,900 through net migration which is more than 2.5 times even the high-forecast of two decades ago.

Expected growth for our major cities

The expectations for our largest cities back in this era were also well below what has eventuated. This 1998 report expected Melbourne to reach a population of between 3.6 and 4.5 million by 2051. It is currently well above this range at 4.8 million. Sydney was predicted to reach between 4.7 and 6.2 million by the middle of this century. It is currently around 5.1 million and will reach the higher forecast within a decade, 23 years early.

Australia's population growth among the highest in the developed world

While the late 1990’s may not seem like that long ago- John Howard was Prime Minister and Bill Clinton was the US President, the last two decades have seen significant shifts in our demographic trends. Back then, slowing population growth was responded to with policy changes like the baby bonus and efforts to increase overseas migration. Australia’s population growth is now one of the highest in the developed world. 

We have added 390,000 people to our population in the last 12 months, which is like adding three cities the size of Darwin to our population each year. Sydney is now home to more people than the whole country of New Zealand. Speaking of which, New Zealand, back in 1998 was expected to reach 4.7 million in 2050- its population currently exceeds 4.8 million. Melbourne is growing even faster and rather than having 1.7 million fewer people than Sydney in 2051 as was predicted, it will likely overtake Sydney to be Australia’s largest city by this year.

Lessons to be learnt

The lesson for policy makers, urban planners and governments alike, is to keep a close eye on the population forecasts and plan early for the growth that is being experienced so that our cities are not left short of infrastructure. While population growth can’t realistically be stopped, it must be better planned for and managed to ensure the Australian lifestyle continues. And when in doubt, assume the higher growth forecasts not the lower ones. I’m yet to see an Australian population forecast that needs adjusting down.

Mark McCrindle, Demographer and Social Researcher

The Fastest Growing Suburb in NSW

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Willowdale in Sydney’s south-west is a suburb that has emerged from rural acreages in just a few years. It sits in the Cobbitty-Leppington area which is the fastest growing region in NSW, Australia’s largest state.

In 10 years, the population of Cobbitty-Leppington has tripled, from 6,000 to around 18,000 currently. Yet it sits in the south-west growth corridor which comprises three of the 10 largest growth areas in NSW. These large growth areas include Elderslie-Harrington park, Mount Annan-Currant Hill and Cobbitty-Leppington, and together they have grown by almost 30,000 people in the last decade.

One of the reasons for the population growth of these areas is the more affordable new housing on offer.

The median house price in this new suburb is around $650,000 compared to the Sydney median house price of almost $1.3 million.

“The Aussie Dream is still alive in Sydney. People can afford not only a house with a back yard in a new community, but one at half the median Sydney house price” - Mark McCrindle

About Mark McCrindle

Mark McCrindle is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Download Mark's full speakers pack here.

Australian attitudes towards coffee

Thursday, October 12, 2017

We were delighted to partner with Jura Australia to conduct new research to better understand Australian perspectives, attitudes and behaviours towards coffee.

Coffee is crucial for the survival of more than one in four Australians.

The love of coffee is strong in Australia, with more than one in four (27%) indicating they cannot survive the day without it, and 9 in 10 (88%) stating they like it to some extent.

Australia’s younger generations have a greater dependency on coffee, with around a third needing it to survive the day (33% Gen Y and 30% Gen X). By comparison the Builders generation are the most likely to see coffee as something nice to have but don't need it (45%).

We also don’t mind paying for what we love, with more than four in five Australians (84%) spending money on coffee in an average week.

Three quarters of Australians have at least one cup a day.

Three in four Australians (75%) enjoy at least one cup of coffee per day, and of those, 28% have three or more cups per day! Those who prefer instant coffee are the most likely to have three or more cups per day.

Instant Vs espresso, who wins?

Australian coffee drinkers are evenly divided between those who prefer instant coffee (39%) and espresso coffee (39%).

Older generations are likely to prefer instant coffee, whilst a preference for espresso coffee is higher among Australia’s younger generations. The Builders generation are the exception, with two in five (42%) preferring espresso coffee.

Coffee is most enjoyed at home.

The majority of Australians who drink coffee will make a coffee at home on a usual weekday (86%). However, when it comes to purchasing a coffee from a café, younger generations are more likely to do so than their older counterparts (61% Gen Z, 53% Gen Y cf. 36% Gen X, 33% Baby Boomers, 26% Builders).

Coffee drinkers who prefer espresso coffee are the most likely to purchase their coffee from a cafe (60% cf. 36% coffee pods, 22% instant coffee). More than three quarters of those who prefer espresso coffee (77%), however, will make a coffee at home on an average weekday.

Research Methodology

This research is a collation of data gained through an online national representation survey of 1,000 Australians over the age of 18 across the different generations, genders and states in Australia.

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