US Generation Z Technology and Media Use

What Usage Looks Like for the First Generation with 24/7 Access to Connected Devices

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About This Report
As the first true generation of digital natives, Gen Z has had round-the-clock access to on-demand information, streaming entertainment, and instantaneous communication since birth. This report examines trends in Gen Z’s technology and media use.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Generation Z is coming of age at a time of relentless and unprecedented innovation. As the first true generation of digital natives, Gen Zers have never known what it’s like not to have round-the-clock access to the internet. As a result, they expect on-demand information, streaming entertainment, and instantaneous communication in nearly every aspect of their lives.

How does Gen Z’s technology use compare with that of older generations?

Though they tend to lag some older generations in their use of tech, it’s only because many Gen Zers are still children. Their high level of comfort with technology will eventually make them the most digitally sophisticated generation ever.

How is technology changing the way Gen Z interacts with the world?

Gen Z is the first generation to have 24/7 access to the internet, connected devices, and social media since birth. As a result, they see the physical and digital worlds as a seamless continuum of experiences that blend offline and online information for entertainment, commerce, and communication.

What impact has the pandemic had on Gen Z’s media use?

Lockdowns, social distancing, and health-related concerns drove Gen Z to pass the time online, where they looked for inspiration, companionship, and meaning. Their increased use of digital video, audio, and gaming helped them keep busy, learn more about the world, and form closer ties with online influencers and communities. This model is likely to endure, even as in-person experiences begin to rebound.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides an overview of Gen Zers’ technology and media use and how it is changing as they mature.

KEY STAT: Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram will be the most popular social networks among Gen Z this year, but their user bases are growing at different rates. TikTok, which burst on the US scene in 2018, already has more Gen Z users than Instagram and is closing the gap with Snapchat.

Here’s what’s in the full report

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Key Points
  3. Nearly All of Gen Z Is Online
  1. Gen Z Is Disrupting the Traditional Media Landscape
  2. Gen Z’s Appetite for Gaming Is Insatiable
  3. Gen Z Isn’t Socially Limited
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

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Read This With Insider Intelligence

authors

Victoria Petrock

Contributors

Jasmine Enberg
Senior Analyst
Jeane Han
Senior Researcher
Jennifer Pearson
VP, Research
Lauren Ruhlen
Researcher