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Cruise news Blog post March 28, 2016
Smosh: the No. 1 celebrity influencer of Generation Z whose YouTube channel has 22 million subscribers.

Smosh: the No. 1 celebrity influencer of Generation Z whose YouTube channel has 22 million subscribers.

Top 5 celebrity influencers of Generation Z & millennials (infographic)

Very different outlooks & attitudes from two key demographic groups

On the final day of the Seatrade trade show and conference in Ft. Lauderdale earlier this month, the last session featured a speaker who shared a fascinating look the emergence of Generation Z and how it promises to reshape culture and business for years to come.

While there has been lots of media attention lavished on millennials, who now outnumber baby boomers, you might not have even heard of Generation Z. It’s the moniker that analysts and writers are attaching to today’s tweens and teenagers, ages 19 and below, whose world outlook is quite different from that of millennials. 

One highlight of the talk by Marcie Merriman, executive director of Growth Strategy and Innovation at Ernst and Young, was the difference between whom the two groups looked to as celebrity influencers.

We created an infographic that spotlights the difference – please download it as a .png or download the PDF version, or share it on Facebook or your favorite social network.

The millennials offered the names of celebrity influencers that have infused popular culture:

  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Jason Bieber
  • Taylor Swift
  • Lady Gaga
  • Steve Jobs

But the celebrities who influence Generation Z were mostly a mystery to me – though not to my 16-year-old son. All are YouTube artists:

  • Smosh
  • PewDiePie
  • The Fine Brothers
  • Ksi
  • Ryan Higa

Understanding Generation Z

Understanding Generation Z is not simply a matter of idle curiosity or bemusement. By 2025, they’ll make up 29% of the population and become the largest generation in the U.S. – bigger than both boomers and millennials.

Brands will rise and fall depending on whether they appeal to members of Gen Z, which Merriman describes as “ambitious realists” who are persistent, driven, innovative, outward-looking, self-aware and self-reliant.

Said Merriman: “Millennials are the most creative generation that has come along to date. Generation Z takes that creativity to a new level. They’re naturally innovative. Millennials were taught that they’re the center of the world, and they’re dependent on others, especially their parents. Gen Z don’t like to depend on others, they’re self-reliant. They have the answers to any question at their fingertips, they just check their phone. In 2009, the average age at which you’d check your first smartphone was 16. In 2011 in was 12. By 2015, over half of 7-year-olds had some kind of smartphone device.”

Cruise lines and travel companies catering to the next generation of cruisers: Pay attention! Gen Z is here and they'll be shaping how we think about things for a long time to come. 

JD Lasica
I'm Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Cruiseable. Follow your cruise bliss to any land where it may lead. Let's connect! I'm @jdlasica on Twitter.