WIN International, the world’s leading association in market research and polling has published the Annual WIN World Survey (WWS – 2019) exploring the views and beliefs of 29575 individuals among different generations from 40 countries across the globe about their life´s perspective. The survey analyzes views and opinions related to work, health, life, and technology.
The main goal of the WWS is to investigate thoughts, expectations, worries, and perceptions related to relevant topics for society and business. People´s behaviors vary according to different generations. Although there are many common views, often each generation has different priorities: therefore, in order to connect with them, a deep understanding of their values and stands is needed, especially in times of crisis.
The spread of Covid-19, besides presenting many challenges to the health care systems and to the economic structure, it also deeply impacts society at so many levels. Our data was collected before the coronavirus pandemic, but in order to anticipate society’s changes and new trends, we need to rely on our knowledge of different generations’ priorities, habits, and opinions and use the results as important benchmarks for the future.
Most important topic/aspect in life
There is a common view of what really matters in life: Family and healthy living are the top two priorities across all generations. However, despite all generations agree that family is the most important value in life, percentages vary according to individuals’ age: the youngest generations mention family less often than the oldest generations (62% Gen Z, 62% Millennials, 67% Gen X, 71% Baby Boomers, 78% Born before 1946). The same goes for health: older generations tend to give more importance to healthy living. We can assume from more recent studies conducted in times of coronavirus that the top priorities among generations will remain family and health, probably reaching even higher scores than before.
Besides family and healthy living, there are a few differences in what each generation finds important. Gen Z, although it is the youngest generation included in the study, considers it more important to have a career than other generations, who are rather more focused on the future. On the other hand, Millennials consider it important to have fun and to be careful about how they spend their money. Generation X’s priorities are divided between their concern about retirement and having fun. Baby boomers, on the other hand, consider it very important to have retirement plans, more so than other generations.
What is most important in life also varies across regions. Besides family, the most important topic for Gen Z in Europe is having fun (53%), while their American counterpart and individuals from the MENA region are more career-oriented (56% and 39%), which also differ from APAC and Africa, where the same generation consider healthy living more important (45% vs. 52%). APAC is the only region where healthy living is considered the second most important topic for all generations.
Although the majority considers themselves healthy, results change according to each generation. The youngest ones consider themselves healthier than the oldest ones: only 15% of Gen Z consider themselves unhealthy compared to 34% of the generation of people that were born before 1946.
Health perception varies among regions as well. Gen Z in APAC (91%), Millennials in Africa (87%), Gen X and Baby Boomers in Africa (85%), and the ones that were born before 1946 in The Americas (75%) consider themselves healthier than their pairs in other regions.
Quality of life
All generations agree that, in general, they have a good quality of life. Gen X shows the most negative scores. Perceived quality of life per generation also varies depending on the region: MENA shows the lowest scores across all generations.
Meaning of work
Work has a different meaning for each generation. Gen Z perceives work as a fixed role that helps you build a long-term career (20%), while Millennials consider work as a duty (20%). On the other hand, Gen X considers work as a mean to an end (21%) while the oldest generations think about it as a source for personal fulfillment. When analyzing generations by regions, there are important differences within each generation. Gen Z in the Americas considers work as a mean to an end (27%), while it is seen as a duty in APAC (28%) and as a help to build a career in Europe, Africa and MENA (21%, 30%, and 22% respectively). Millennials in the Americas and Europe see work as a mean to an end (32% and 25%), while in APAC is seen as a duty (28%).
Technology is the most controversial topic among generations. Younger generations are more confident and willing to share their personal data and locations than older generations. Baby boomers and Pre1946 are concerned about sharing personal information digitally (77% and 75%), while only 64% in the Gen Z shares this concern. In addition, this last group is keener to consider that sharing personal information is vital and necessary.
Generation X and Baby boomers (70% both) are the most likely to think that their personal information is valuable for many data collectors, while those who were born before 1946 are the least likely to think that way (62%). Baby Boomers (73%) is the generation with the worst perception of privacy practices followed by most data collectors. On the opposite side, we find Generation Z (59%).
Despite the increasing penetration of apps and social media, the willingness to share personal data and location vary in the different generations surveyed. For example, 54% of Gen Z mentioned that it is likely they will share their location with social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, etc.), but the percentage decreases to 27% within the generation that was born before 1946.
Vilma Scarpino, President of WIN International Association, said:
“This survey is a valuable tool to understand differences and similarities among generations in order to address them correctly. Although the majority consider that they have a good quality of life and health, attitudes differ in their views about technology and the meaning of work. The youngest generations are oriented to build their career and have fun, while the oldest generations are thinking about their retirement plans. Priorities and concerns by generations also vary across regions. We can assume the differences detected across generations will remain stable even in future comparison studies, that may focus on post-COVID-19 emergency. Not only future research may point to similar results, but the already-at-the-top values, such as family and health, may even strengthen now ”.