Corporate executives charged with developing medium- and long-term corporate road maps should pay attention to research from CommScope about “Generation Z.” The bottom line of the far-ranging survey, which had 4,003 participants between the ages of 13 and 22 in eight worldwide cities, is that the this demographic group is quite unique and Generation Z tech habits have far reaching implications for society overall.
The survey shows changes in their attitude toward privacy, career goals and frequency of checking their devices — which in some cases is 30 times an hour. “Tech intimates, who check their devices every three minutes on average, are set to shape how we live, work and play in the future,” Fiona Nolan, senior vice president of Global Marketing at CommScope, said in a press release. “Their attitudes and usage of technology will have a big impact on society, paving the way for significant social, political and technological changes.”
Some highlights of the report:
- Nearly two-thirds feel that the “age of privacy is over” and that nothing they do online is private, although most try to protect their personal privacy at all costs.
- Their number one desired career was to be a famous YouTuber, followed by a cutting-edge software developer and Twitter celebrity with over one million followers.
- Gen Zers are increasingly prolific content creators and share that content freely with others via their networked devices.
- More than 50 percent say internet access (or lack thereof) impacts who they socialize with and 49 percent saying it influences what products they purchase.
- Gen Zers are far happier with their smartphones than with their service providers.
- More than 60 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their network connectivity when away from home, where they consider connectivity crucial to their lifestyles.
There are three main takeaways, according to CommScope:
- Time—Gen Z sees time as a form of currency, using their connected devices to spend, save and waste time. As the always-on generation, technology runs as an appendage or extension of their very identity. That identity is showcased through the apps where they spend the most time – YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.
- Place—Through their connected devices, Gen Zers exist in a virtualized world where expression, enhancement and entertainment dominates. The smartphone is their social hub and the epicenter of how they conduct their lives, and they feel safe and adept in this highly connected, content-sharing world. Because they are so hyperconnected, it isn’t surprising that 63 percent say it would be extremely difficult to live without their smartphone.
- Attitude—Smart, opinionated and attached, Gen Z finds fulfillment in their devices. Their smartphones make them feel secure and they form rituals and habits related to using their devices more and more. Technology is essentially an indistinguishable part of their very identity and intertwined in their daily lives. Prioritizing longer battery life, more memory/storage and faster internet speeds highlights their obsessive relationship with their device.
Two companies that are courting this group are Hulu and Spotify. In September, the companies said that they are jointly targeting college students with a bundled music and video streaming service. Spotify Premium for Students is priced at $4.99.