April 23, 2012
April trend report examines the digital world of Gen Z
A new generation is coming to the fore, and they’re taking a new approach to the wider world. This is Gen Z, the cohort that follows the Millennials, born after 1995. Weaned on smartphones, tablets and high-speed wireless Internet, this group can be considered the first true mobile mavens: They will take for granted a world of wireless connectivity, untethered from the constraints of a landline or a traditional Internet connection.
Our April trend report, “Gen Z: Digital in Their DNA,” provides a snapshot of this generation by focusing on their digital habits: how they use connected devices to socialize, spend, shop and more. We also report on how their parents feel about these habits and what this means for marketers. The report is based on a survey of tweens and teens (ages 8 to 17) and their parents in the U.S. and the U.K. It was conducted using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online research tool, in early March.
One of our findings is that for Gen Z, digital connections trump money, music, movies and more: Digital connection is essential. As many as 90% of young American and British respondents would be reluctant to give up their Internet connection (vs. 78% who said the same for their mobile phone, and 76% for texting friends). Overall, Internet connections, mobile phones and the ability to text friends are valued more highly than allowance money and various material goods, and significantly more highly than real-world activities like going to the movies or eating out.
We also found that this generation views digital socializing as easier and more convenient: More than half of Gen Z respondents say it’s easier to chat with friends digitally, or more convenient. And significant percentages prefer socializing online: Around 4 in 10 are more comfortable talking to people online than in real life and find it more fun. On most of these counts, boys are a little more likely than girls to prefer digital communication. Parents, meanwhile, have mixed feelings about social networking: While they recognize its value to their child and almost all trust their child to use social networks responsibly, they’re also well aware of the dangers they pose, with 8 in 10 parents paying close attention to their tween’s social networking.
To download the report, click here.