New insights into Gen Z’s browsing habits and views on brands

New insights into Gen Z’s browsing habits and views on brands

Recent research by The Lucre Group has found that marketers need to understand key attitudinal shifts among those born between 1995 and 2010. The study set out to analyze the online habits of Gen Z, so Just.Marketing asked Tamarind Wilson, Co-founder and Director at The Lucre Group to explain the findings.

JM: What are the key findings of your research?

Tamarind: “One of the most important discoveries was that at the age of 16, teenagers shift from being excited, relaxed and happy 75% of the time, to just 45% of the time. At this critical stage in young people’s development, feelings of happiness are replaced with rising anxiety, boredom and tiredness. Key drivers of these rapid mood changes are concerns regarding relationships, body image and health.

“We also unearthed some important findings related to 16-18-year-olds’ attitudes to brands. The overwhelming majority (71%) are aware that brands advertise to them on social media without them realising it, and 73% view this as a negative.

“Understanding these key attitudinal shifts amongst those born between 1995 and 2010 is vital for marketers.”

JM: What have you learned about the online browsing habits of Gen Z?

Tamarind: “Our figures suggest that 10-18-year-olds are now spending five hours per day online – and half of that is on social media channels. As digital natives, the use of voice-enabled technology for both search and command, is a given, but second screen life is now the new normal as well – 95% of Gen Z said they use another device while watching video, particularly mobiles.

“The analysis also revealed that online freedom post-16 is exposing children to sources that they would have been less likely to access pre-16; the passive device monitoring showed that at 16, Gen Z view porn sites just as often as Netflix – statistics being largely, but not exclusively, driven by boys.”

JM: What are the most popular social channels for them?

Tamarind: “In total, 25% of Gen Z’s time online is spent on YouTube, with the thriving video-sharing platform proving to be the most popular channel by far for all 10-18-year-olds. However, TikTok is hot on YouTube’s heels, particularly amongst 10-15-year-olds, who say they spend around 10% of their browsing time on the short-form mobile video network.

“Instagram and Snapchat are also popular, and usage of both platforms increases with age.”

Tamarind Wilson

JM: What are they using them for?

Tamarind: “Increasingly YouTube is being used instead of Google. As much as 80% of 10-18-year-olds use YouTube to fuel their knowledge, 68% use it to improve or gain skills and 80% proactively share videos on it.

“Our research also showed that YouTube usage was under-claimed when we compared our passive device monitoring data with the quantitative research. We found that 56% of 18-year-old boys’ time on social media is spent on YouTube – they spend twice as much time on it than any other social media channel.

“Increasingly, social media is being used for self-development and self-expression through content creation, along with chatting with friends, playing games and searching for products to buy.”

JM: How do engagement levels change among different age groups and what drives this change?

Tamarind: “The study highlighted differences in engagement between 10-15 and 16-18-year-olds, with videos and photos favoured amongst the former and Memes and photos amongst the latter.

“Timing is also a key determining factor in engagement levels – Gen Z are most active online between 6pm – 10pm, with little change between weekdays and weekends.”

JM: What expectations do Gen Z have of brands online? Do they differ by age?

Tamarind: “We found that 82% of 16-18-year-olds believe brands need to improve their advertising and/or marketing on social media channels in order for them to engage.

“There is also a marked increase at 16 in the extent to which children expect to be rewarded for spending money with brands, taking pictures which support brands, wearing items provided by brands, being more environmentally responsible and being willing to receive marketing material.”

JM: Why did you focus on Gen Z?

Tamarind: “At 2.5 billion people, Gen Z accounts for 32% of the global population but within this generation there are polarized beliefs and behaviours depending on age.

“We focused on Gen Z as these are the ‘next up’ customers, navigating the journey to more independent lives that will see them transition to the workplace and/or further education, with increased spending power and control.

“Our data confirmed that these Gen Z-ers have very distinct attitudes and behaviours, and in particular online consumption habits. Brands really need to get underneath these insights in order to engage with these young people effectively, as they do not conform to previous norms.”

    JM: Explain the research methodology

    Tamarind: “We commissioned the research in conjunction with ResearchBods. It was conducted through a combination of quantitative research and passive device monitoring. In total, 1,200 10-18-year-olds were polled from across the UK and 16,000 days’ worth of unique mobile phone usage data over a three-month period was analysed.”

    JM: What are the key implications of your research for brands?

    Tamarind: “Not only does the research emphasise the need for marketers to better understand this complex generation, it highlights the need for brands to revise their multi-channel mix and engage more emotively than ever before. We found 16-18-year-olds in particular feel there is improvement required in how brands engage with them. Furthermore, with an estimated buying power of $600 million, the influence this audience already has on brands is huge, meaning many businesses need to adapt their approach now.”