A generational label needs to capture something about the generation’s experience, and for iGen’ers, the Internet and smartphones have defined many of their experiences thus far – thus the name iGen, like iPhones and iPads. One survey found that 2 out of 3 teens has an iPhone (specifically an iPhone, not just a smartphone).
The prominent magazine AdvertisingAge backed iGen as the best name for the post-Millennials. “We think it’s the name that best fits and will best lead to understanding of this generation,” Matt Carmichael, AdvertisingAge’s director of data strategy, told USA Today.
Another name suggested for this group is Generation Z. But that label works only if the generation before them is called Generation Y, and hardly anyone uses Generation Y now that the term Millennials has won out. That makes Generation Z dead on arrival as a label. Plus, young people do not want to be named after the generation older than themselves. That’s why “Baby Busters” never caught on for Generation X and why “Generation Y” never stuck for Millennials. Generation Z is derivative, and the generational labels that stick are always original.
As far as I know, I was the first to use the term iGen, introducing it in the first edition of my book Generation Me in April 2006.