- Most members of the Gen Z generation (98%) own smartphones, but only 22% use the devices to make purchases, as many prefer interacting with brands in person, according to a new study by UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 of more than 22,700 college students ages 17-23.
- Sixty-one percent of Gen Zers have fully switched to streaming services, but 28% still subscribe to cable. The findings also showed that while 41% stream on a laptop, 32% use a TV. Among the students surveyed, 93% own a laptop and 44% own a tablet. When it comes to purchases, 60% prefer using a desktop.
- The study also revealed that 77% of Gen Z respondents prefer reading printed books, and 40% prefer to reach out to brands via email. Over half of respondents, or 59%, don’t trust Facebook with their personal data, and 78% allow just some apps access their geolocation.
Because Gen Z grew up with social media and technology, marketers may assume that these so-called digital natives are digital- or mobile-focused. However, the UNiDAYS and Ad Age Studio 30 survey is the latest to reveal that Gen Z actually has a complex relationship with technology and that some of the tropes that marketers associate with millennials are not true for Gen Zers. Even though most own a laptop and mobile device, the younger generation often prefers in-person interactions with brands and isn't as social media obsessed as some may think.
The finding that Gen Z prefers shopping in-store or on a desktop, as opposed to mobile, is in line with other research examining the generation’s shopping habits. Gen Zers are 23% more likely to visit shopping malls than other age groups, a characteristic that is vastly different from millennials who have embraced online and mobile shopping, according to a recent study by Foursquare and Carat. Several retailers, like Sephora and Zara, have responded to digital-native Gen Z shoppers by including more tech features at physical locations, including augmented reality, self-service and mobile in-store shopping.
Research also continues to reveal Gen Z’s paradoxical relationship with social media. As the latest survey shows, they don’t over share and are distrusting of the platforms. A study by Hill Holiday’s Origin released in March found that 34% of Gen Z said they were permanently leaving social media, and 64% were taking a break, because the platforms make them feel anxious or depressed. But, a majority also said that social media helps them build relationships and make connections with people.