I’ve spent the last five years building mobile apps for Generation Z and look at an incredible amount of data on a daily basis. I often get asked: Who is Gen Z and how do their media consumption habits differ from previous generations? So I thought I’d share my insight on the current state of the media market as it relates to this coveted group of content consumers.
For context, Gen Z are those born between 1995–2005 (14- to 24-year-olds) and factor for about 2 billion around the world (74 million in the U.S. alone). They were born in the digital age, while millennials grew into it:
But what makes Gen Z and millennials different in terms of how/where they consume their news and entertainment? The key difference to keep in mind is that Gen Z was born with already pretty advanced technology — smartphones, WiFi, social media… They’re the first generation to be considered true digital natives and don’t recall a world without connectivity.
Millennials, on the other hand, grew up during a time when all of this great technology was still being developed and perfected. Remember the glory days of Nokia cellphones, Friendster and dial-up internet?
Gen Z’s platforms of choice are YouTube and TikTok.
YouTube leads the pack when it comes to long-form content, with 70% of Gen Z visiting the platform on a daily basis. It’s practically their version of cable TV.
TikTok reigns for short-form a.k.a. quick bites of entertainment, with the average user spending 52 minutes in the app per day.
TikTok’s popularity completely skyrocketed in 2019 and was ranked the most downloaded app of the year. It also reached 1 billion users faster than any other social media app ever has — including Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. In February 2020 alone, TikTok was downloaded nearly 113 million times. That’s insane(ly impressive).
Gen Z didn’t “cut the cord” — they never connected it to begin with. And they’re still watching plenty of video content…they’re just doing it differently:
- 34% on their smartphones
- 26% on their computers
- 24% on TV
- 10% on tablet devices
- 6% elsewhere
More than 40% of Gen Z “binge-watch” on a weekly basis, and can view up to 7 episodes and 6 hours in a single setting.
They’re driven by the need to be “in the know” about the latest trends and entertainment, mostly so that they can contribute to conversations taking place in social media.
In fact, 20% of Gen Z have posted about a show or movie without actually watching it yet! I expect this behavioral trend will lead to a bunch of new formats that help people get up to speed on the latest trending content in a short amount of time.
This image speaks for itself: Do you recognize any of the names on the top row? Now how about the folks at the bottom?
Not only do they look at YouTube as their supreme, Gen Z considers actual YouTubers as their “celebrities” — like Smosh and PewDiePie. They’re drawn to social media influencers that feel relatable to them and do daily activities they normally would.
Meanwhile, millennials still look at tech startup founders and pop artists as celebrities, valuing them for their high achievements.
Finally (OK, Boomer)… Some fun facts for you:
- 79% of Gen Z receive their news via social media
- Almost half of Gen Z are online for 10+ hours a day
- 66% use only push notifications from certain apps
- Gen Zers have an attention span of 8 seconds
All of these pieces play a role in the decisions we make for our apps at Mammoth Media. By 2022, global revenues in mobile entertainment are expected to double — from $58.4 billion to $128.1 billion. I think we’re in the right place.
That’s a wrap for now, but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Benoit Vatere is the Founder & CEO of Mammoth Media, the social entertainment studio that produces, distributes and monetizes original short-form content. It owns & operates the Generation Z-oriented apps Yarn, Wishbone, and CatchUp.