Gen Z vs Millennials: star speakers weigh in

20th May 2019

Millennial founders of Gymshark, LADBible, Tropic Skincare, and Verve – plus directors at BrewDog and The Hut Group – appeared with Gen Z expert David Stillman to discuss the differences between Gen Z and Millennials as consumers and employees at our 22nd annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 awards conference.


Guest speeches: Gen Z and Millennials as consumers and employees


David Stillman, co-founder of GenZGuru, who has advised business executives on generational gaps for 20 years, kicked off our guest talks at this year’s Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 awards ceremony in Oxfordshire last week.

David told our 342 guests – all founders and directors of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies – that Generation Z (aged four to 24) are fundamentally different to Millennials (25-39) and that companies worldwide are making a mistake by not treating Gen Z as a distinct market force with enormous influence and purchasing power.

Describing Gen Z, he said: “Side hustle and entrepreneurship is in their DNA”, adding that “we have the makings of the most entrepreneurial generation the world has ever seen.”



Callum Negus-Fancey, co-founder and CEO of Verve, which is building a global platform for 16 to 28-year-olds to discover aspirational brands through their social networks, then discussed how his company was attempting to bring younger generations the experiences they crave through ‘many-to-many marketing’ – based on young people sharing their thoughts about brands with one another.

“This idea of loyalty to a brand doesn’t really exist but loyalty to sub-culture is huge,” he said. “Someone might be into electronic dance music or cars for ten years but the actual brand names will change all the time.”



Neil Simpson, director of global business development at BrewDog, then spoke on the differences in consumer behaviour between Gen Z and Millennials. The Scottish craft brewer is tailoring products for younger customers who drink less, he said, but a significant difference was cultural, with people in Shanghai and San Francisco having a different drinking experience regardless of age.

“Experiences are where both Millennials and Gen Z are going,” he said. “They don’t want to just come in and drink the beer, they want an experience.”



Guest speaker Q&A with The Sunday Times

All three guest speakers were then quizzed by Oliver Shah, business editor of The Sunday Times, on the values held by younger consumers and the types of companies they want to work for.

Neil discussed the challenges of maintaining BrewDog’s disruptive culture while the tastes of its Millennial customers evolve; while David said Gen Z had a clear advantage over Millennials in their use of new platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. Finally, Callum described his experience of managing staff from older generations.



All Millennial panel of leading founders and executives

A star panel of leading Millennial entrepreneurs and executives representing alumni from Fast Track league tables was then chaired by The Sunday Times enterprise editor Peter Evans.

Panellists included Ben Francis, founder of Gymshark; Susie Ma, founder and CEO of Tropic Skincare; Arian Kalantari, co-founder of LADBible; and Rachel Horsefield, CEO – Beauty, at The Hut Group.



Arian Kalantari, whose Manchester-based LADBible Group is the most watched social media publisher in the world, told guests that technology was transforming business as social media has lowered the barrier of entry for entrepreneurs.



Information on the league table

The 2019 Sunday Times Fast Track 100 will be published on 1st December 2019, with an awards dinner in May 2020.

For company nominations please enter your details here

For opportunities to meet and build relationships with the founders and directors of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies, see sponsorship opportunities for Fast Track 100

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