Tracking the Media Habits of “Generation Z”

Maegan Buckler  | 

As more advertisers focus their attention and ad dollars on younger consumers, the “Millennnial” segment (those born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s) tends to get most of the attention. But there’s another emerging consumer group that should be on marketers’ radar: “Generation Z” inclusive of those born between 1996 and 2010. This emerging consumer segment is poised to further accelerate the tectonic shifts already remaking today’s media environment. What do advertisers need to know about the viewing habits of Gen Z, and how do they differ from their older counterparts?

YouTube is their favorite online platform
Video is a top performer among Gen Z consumers, frequently outperforming other popular social services like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. In a recent study, 95% of Gen Z consumers said they used YouTube. That’s more than 20 percentage points higher than other favored Gen Z online services like the next-most popular choice, Instagram.

TV still matters
Much like their older Millennial counterparts, Gen Z consumers still watch a significant amount of TV. Recent research suggests that close to 70% of Gen Z respondents watch more than two hours of TV per day. That’s undoubtedly good news for TV networks and advertisers, who can still reach this emerging consumer segment using one of its preferred ad formats.

Streaming video is surging
Following the conclusions in point number one, streaming video is a top media habit for this media-savvy cohort. Even though TV may still account for a chunk of their daily time spent, digital media often wins the day. YouTube along with Netflix are top streaming platforms, collectively accounting for 59% of daily time spent, while traditional cable TV came in at 29% of time spent.

Mobile is becoming the main screen
It’s likely no surprise that Gen Z is looking like the most mobile-obsessed of all consumer groups. A growing share of Gen Z is spending a significant portion of their daily media time on mobile devices, with more than 25% of Gen Z saying they spend between six and 10 hours per day on their phones. This makes it all the more imperative that advertisers develop appropriate cross-screen and mobile-focused ad campaigns to ensure they’re reaching this mobile-focused age group.

When it comes to most coveted consumer groups, Gen Z may not yet lead the pack. But even though Millennials may be today’s consumer “superstars,” their younger counterparts are going to help shape the media and ad spending trends that will dictate the investment and ad format choices of the future. That’s why it’s worth getting a head start on this rising age group now.

Maegan Buckler
Maegan Buckler

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