Generation Z, a group born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, has unique qualities that are changing how businesses work and what people buy. To understand this generation with growing purchase power, we surveyed more than 5000 American adults. In the report, we discovered drivers of Gen Z's choices, how they like to engage with brands, and what they do online – we also looked at Millennials, another important group that's reshaping the consumer landscape.
Highlights from the Understanding Gen-Z Report:
The survey data reveals a significant shift in viewing preferences among different age groups. Gen Z adults (Ages 18-26) allocate a considerable portion of their weekly entertainment time to Esports/Gaming, with 28% of respondents indicating this preference. In contrast, older generations, particularly Boomers and above (Ages 59+), continue to favor traditional sports, with 48% dedicating more of their weekly viewing time to this category.
Recognizing the increasing interest in Esports/Gaming among Gen Z, companies in this sector can focus their marketing efforts on catering to this demographic, potentially leading to new sponsorship and advertising opportunities. In fact, many Gen-Zers seem to be open to the idea of brands engaging with free products and experiences (46%), branding digital worlds (23%), and traditional advertising (18%). Meanwhile, businesses targeting older demographics may continue to find value in advertising during traditional sporting events to reach their intended audience effectively.
The survey data highlights a notable divergence in viewing preferences across generations. Gen Z adults (Ages 18-26) exhibit a strong inclination towards YouTube, with a significant 72% of respondents indicating that they spend more time watching content on this platform in a typical week. In contrast, older generations, particularly Boomers and above (Ages 59+), continue to favor live television, with 71% dedicating more of their weekly viewing time to this traditional medium.
This finding underscores the shifting media consumption habits influenced by generational disparities. One content creator, Mr. Beast, has amassed 167 million YouTube subscribers. For content creators and marketers, recognizing the dominance of YouTube among Gen Z suggests opportunities for targeted content creation and advertising campaigns on this platform.
The data reveals an interesting trend regarding the favorability of TikTok among different generations. While TikTok is often associated with Gen Z (Ages 18-26), the survey results indicate that it is more preferred by Millennials (Ages 27-42).
TikTok has effectively transcended its initial target demographic of Gen Z, garnering a significant following among Millennials. Heather Dretsch, professor of marketing at North Carolina State University, writes about the nuances in marketing to Gen Z and Millennials on TikTok: “Gen Z provides this advice to brands in general: Give us more behind-the-scenes to gain better insight into the brand; feedback polls and other interaction opportunities; and brand ambassadors modeling purchases in real life and showing various combinations. Millennials love to see how others style products or what they choose and how they consume it.” For businesses and marketers, this presents an opportunity to reach a broader audience than previously anticipated, as TikTok's appeal extends beyond its core user base. Crafting marketing strategies that resonate with both Millennials and Gen Z on TikTok may yield substantial engagement, loyalty, and brand exposure.
The survey data reveals that when targeting Millennials (Ages 27-42), investing in the quality and trustworthiness of a product's website description and reviews is crucial. A substantial percentage of Millennials place a high level of trust in these online resources when making purchasing decisions.
To effectively engage and convert Millennial consumers, businesses should prioritize optimizing their product websites. This includes ensuring accurate, detailed, and transparent product descriptions, as well as authentic customer reviews. Furthermore, companies could focus on user experience, mobile responsiveness, and website security to build trust with this demographic.
From the dominance of E-sports and YouTube among Gen Z to the surprising affinity of Millennials for TikTok, implementing these data-driven insights into strategy could lead to greater market potential. For businesses and marketers, adapting to the unique traits and preferences of these generations can unlock doors to new opportunities and expand their reach. Brands that champion diversity and invest in the quality of their online presence will thrive in this evolving landscape. As we embrace the digital future, staying on the pulse of Gen Z and Millennials will undoubtedly lead to success in the market of tomorrow.
Find the full “Understanding Gen-Z” report here.
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