Research: Google Unpacks the Mobile-First Gen Z



Google’s new research report, Gen Z: A Look Inside Its Mobile-First Mindset, gives a comprehensive snapshot of this rising cohort’s digital habits and how black and Hispanic Gen Zers compare to the larger demographic.

As millennials maintain attention from marketers, another generation with growing purchasing power is jostling for their day in the digital sun.

Gen Zers are currently between the ages of 13 and 17 and have the unique distinction of being the first generation to grow up as digital natives.

The report states that ‘Mobile is the new primetime,’ and of the percentage of teens who spend more than three hours daily on their smartphones: 71% are watching videos online; 52% are using messaging apps; 51% are social networking.

Other top-line findings include:

The top 5 screens used by Gen Z, by type: Smartphone – 78%; Laptop – 69%; TV – 68%; Gaming Console – 62%; Tablet – 52%.

Hispanic teens shop online closer to the rate of young adults and adults: 68% all teens; 82% Hispanic; 66% Black.

The average American Gen Z teen got his or her first smartphone at age 12, compared to age 16 for 18-24-year-olds, and age 20 for 25-34-year-olds.

Black teens watch less TV than other teens while Hispanic teens use tablets more than any other group.

These teens surveyed prefer messaging apps to texting and the majority use smartphones to shop.

Google partnered with Ipsos to look into this generation’s behaviors, tastes and wants as an indicator of things to come: “While millennials were mobile pioneers, teens are mobile natives. Yet teens are equal parts aware of and wary of their dependence on technology—meaning their online lives are both spontaneous and carefully curated.”

Teens are the only age group that says ads influence their perception of “cool” products and the top three factors that make a product cool are: “If friends are talking about it; if I see an ad about it; if it’s something personalized to me.”

Several Gen Zers chimed in:

“Something that differentiates us from other generations is our ability to use and bend technology. Nowadays you have children already thinking about computer engineering and coding. It will be very exciting to see what this leads to in the future.” Guillermo, Age 16

“There is not as much face-to-face interaction today. … Now people just talk about what they saw on their phones instead of real life. More face-to-face interaction would be nice, but sometimes we don’t know what to talk about, so we find interesting things online.” Diego, Age 15

“When I got a phone, it was really important socially. It was like, oh my gosh, you’re accepted now. Everyone wanted to be your friend because you got a new phone.” Cyan, Age 17

Click here to download the full report.



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