Age Cohorts and Gen Edge

About Age Cohorts

When studying consumer behavior and/or the marketing environment, the concept of age cohorts is often discussed within the marketing textbook.

Age cohorts of very large groups of populations that were born in the same time – usually within the same 10 or 20 year period. The broad thinking is that they are somewhat influenced in their approach to life and consumption based upon their “shared experiences”.

Although nowhere near as effective as a more detailed market segmentation approach – age cohorts can provide a general understanding of how the mindsets of these consumers may work and how they can be broadly influenced.

In other words, age cohorts can provide a general understanding of the market. Probably the most commonly known age cohort is the “baby boomer”, but as this group approaches its retirement, other and younger age cohorts become more important.

About Gen Edge

Generation Edge, also known as Gen Z, is a demographic group that is currently coming of age and significantly impacting consumer culture. Born after the Millennials, they are the children of Gen Xers and are distinctive in several ways.

Here’s a look at who they are, their key characteristics, and strategies for effectively engaging with them.

Who is Gen Edge (Gen Z)?

Demographic Profile

Gen Edge, or Gen Z, consists primarily of the children of Gen Xers. As of recent estimates, they represent approximately 25% of the American population.

This generation is currently approaching their 20s, marking their transition into adulthood and their increasing influence as consumers.


This generation is notably more diverse than any previous generation. Pew Research Center highlights that a bare majority (52%) are non-Hispanic white, with significant representation from Hispanic (25%), Black (14%), Asian (6%), and other racial groups.


They are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet, with a lower likelihood of dropping out of high school and a higher propensity for college enrollment compared to previous generations.

Digital Natives

Gen Edge members are true digital natives, having little or no memory of a world before smartphones. A vast majority have access to a smartphone, and nearly all use major online platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Social and Policy Views

Their views on key social and policy issues are very much like those of Millennials. They tend to be progressive, pro-government, and view the country’s growing racial and ethnic diversity positively. They are more likely than older generations to look to the government to solve problems rather than businesses and individuals.

Engaging with Gen Edge

Value-Driven Engagement

Gen Edge is attracted to brands that appear trustworthy and transparent. They value companies as much as the products or services they offer. Brands should focus on being open about their values and operations.

Authentic Communication

Communicating in a language that resonates with Gen Z is crucial. Brands should strive to understand and use the vocabulary, acronyms, and humor prevalent among this demographic. However, authenticity is key; forced or inauthentic language can be off-putting.

Real Activism Over Superficial

Gen Edge is quick to dissociate from brands that engage in superficial activism. Genuine efforts towards societal issues, ethical manufacturing practices, and sustainability are important to them.

Influencer Collaboration

Collaborating with influencers and content creators whom Gen Edge trusts can be an effective strategy. This demographic frequently turns to influencers to learn about new products.

Entertaining Content

Content that is entertaining, engaging, and possibly humorous resonates well with this group. They prefer content that is interesting and provided in a personal setting.

Platform Preferences

Brands need to be present on platforms favored by Gen Edge, like TikTok and Instagram. Traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter are less influential for this demographic.

Promotions and Sales

Gen Zers are particularly attracted to deals and sales. Discounts are a major motivator for them to engage with new brands on social media.

Relatable and Honest Marketing

Gen Edge prefers marketing that is relatable, honest, and entertaining over traditional, polished advertisements. They support brands that align with their values, such as LGBTQ+ rights, racial equity, and environmental sustainability,

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article from AdAge magazine that discusses the key characteristics of “Gen Edge”, that I would recommend for further research.


“Who are they? And how do we talk to this group?

The first question is far simpler to answer than the second. Those of us who track consumer culture are still in the midst of studying Gen Edge’s social behaviors.

Here’s what we know for certain. Also called Gen Z, they’re the children of Gen Xers, and are approaching their 20s. By some estimates they account for as much as 25% the American population. And, they are more diverse than any other age group to date, representing a blend of races.

What we don’t know is how drastically Gen Edge will evolve the consumer-brand relationship, increasingly impacted by technology.

Sources and Further Reading

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