Gen Z’s Trajectory Continues to Evolve

While most generational research shines a bright light on Millennials (the generation in its prime spending years), Gen Z has recently gained more media attention due to the pandemic’s impact on their mental health and wellness. While all generations were negatively impacted, Gen Z reported a more significant decline in mental health and wellness than older adults (including Millennials, Xers, and Boomers).

According to the APA’s “Stress in America” report from March 2021, Gen Z adults were the most likely generation to say their mental health worsened as a result of the pandemic. This makes sense as Gen Z teens (age 13-17) and adults (age 18-23) faced overwhelming uncertainty about their education, career tracts, and ultimately their future during a foundational year of their life especially compared to more stable, older generations. Of course, this dip in mental health will play out in interesting ways post-pandemic, especially as Gen Z surpasses Millennials as the largest consumer population in the next five years.

As Quirk’s report “Gen Z: Work, wealth, and post-pandemic life”  indicates, Gen Z is the most educated generation as well as the most nimble and evasive. They care about diversity, Mother Earth, jobs with purpose and meaning, while fearing the system is set up for them to fail. All this is to say Gen Z may not march to the beat of the same drum as previous generations, but worthy of our time and interest. The same marketing rituals and tactics certainly won’t work for a generation seeking authenticity and a new vision for their lives―we must seek out new ways to share content and speak with this generation in meaningful ways.

W5 has significant experience conducting generational research with a variety of tools and techniques that explore Gen Z’s mindset, attitudes, and outlook. This case study highlight’s W5’s role in assisting a regional healthcare provider understand how Millennial and Gen Z parents utilize digital healthcare tools when booking appointments for their children to identify service improvements.

Case Study: Digital Strategies for Millennial and Gen Z Audiences

A regional healthcare provider planned a refresh of digital and technology services available to their patients, specifically targeting Millennial and Gen Z audiences. To inform strategic direction, primary research was needed to understand how consumers navigates the healthcare system and their decision-making process for seeking care.


W5 conducted a hybrid research approach to understand the needs of Millennial and Gen Z parents and their children’s healthcare journey. An initial quantitative survey explored needs and expectations around digital tools and key factors influencing their healthcare decisions. A follow-up round of focus group discussions provided additional context for their needs and in-depth understanding of how they make healthcare decisions and navigate care options.


The research provided a template for understanding which factors were most important to perceptions of quality care among Millennial and Gen Z parents and identified key touchpoints where the experience could be optimized. W5 made recommendations that guided the healthcare provider toward digital best practices with the greatest impact on the patient experience.

To learn more about how W5 can help you conduct generational research or do a deep dive on Gen Z, set up a call with our dedicated team.

To read more about W5’s perspective on conducting research with Gen Z consumers, check out our Gen Z series here:

  • In Part 1, we examine why Gen Z is of interest to the market research community and why it is important to consider how they engage with the world when designing research studies.
  • In Part 2, we explore what differentiates Gen Z from other generational groups and how technology has played a major role in influencing their world experiences and behaviors.
  • In Part 3, we identify best practices and key considerations for designing effective, engaging market research studies with Gen Z consumers.  

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