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Are smartphones a distraction or do they help drive productivity? In the case of Gen Z, the answer is they do both. According to a recent report, the devices help them ‘… kill time as well as be more efficient and entertained.’2

So what are they doing when they’re using their device? According to the same report, more than half of Gen Z respondents (52%) are creating and sharing content with others.1 That includes photos, videos, written articles, text messages and audio recordings.

43% of people surveyed by the same company create content at least weekly and a similar number consider sharing to be important. They’re spreading news and views through online platforms, apps and even their own website.3

It gives these digital natives a way to engage with others and – importantly – express themselves. Almost two-thirds (62%) are more comfortable doing this digitally than in person.4

It helps to highlight a point made in a 2017 survey, which found in North America and Europe access to the internet (44% and 33%) and free media or social media (44% and 33%) are the most important factors contributing to
youth empowerment.5

Graphic depicting the type of content produced by Gen Z

Source: The Generation Z Study of Tech Intimates Report, October 2017 


Gen Z and Millennials differ in the way they engage with social media. The most recent figures suggest across the UK, USA and Canada, Gen Z is switching from Facebook to Snapchat.6 Usage by Millennials remains stable. Video is an incredibly powerful medium – on YouTube alone, almost 400 hours of content is uploaded every minute.7 It’s the most popular social media platform for Gen Z.8

The younger generation is moving away from the more traditional channels too. Gen Z spends 10% less time watching TV than Millennials, that’s just over 13 hours per week compared with nearly 15 hours. And one in five Gen Z respondents say they don’t watch TV at all.

Instead, 70% of Gen Z representatives surveyed say they prefer streaming services like Netflix and, when asked which screen they would choose if they could only keep one, none of them chose the television.

Whatever the future holds, the content that is created for the younger generations must be engaging. Recent reports claim the average attention span of a Gen Z is just eight seconds.9

Graphic showing that 70% of Gen Z prefer streaming services like Netflix.

Source: The Ipsos MORI Almanac 2017 – 70% of Gen Z prefer streaming services like Netflix. 

1, 2, 3. The Generation Z Study of Tech Intimates Report, October 2017
4. Awesomeness Report – Gen Z: Leaders of the mobile social movement, October 2017
5. World Economic Forum – Global Shapers Survey 2017
6. eMarketer – Understanding Teens and Their Smartphone Habits 2017
7. Statista – Hours of Video uploaded to YouTube Every Minute 2015
8. We are Social – Three Differences in How Gen Z and Millennials Use Social Media, March 2018
9. BD Network, White Noise Generation?!, 2016

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