By Ellyn Briggs
December 12, 2022 at 5:00 am ET
Gen Zers are no longer a mere fascination: They now wield serious purchasing power and cultural capital as they put their imprints on the global economy. Morning Consult surveyed Americans between the ages of 13 and 25 about their media tastes and habits, relationships with brands and interest in sports in order to better understand where, exactly, the youngest adult generation is now taking us.
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Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first generation that’s totally digitally native. Four out of five of their favorite brands are technology companies. They’re abandoning traditional corporate jobs in favor of content creation, and they’ve even devised a new vocabulary inspired by algorithmic guidelines.
A new Morning Consult survey of Americans between the ages of 13 and 25 highlights the extent to which young people use one facet of the internet in particular: social media.
Fifty-four percent of Gen Zers said they spend at least four hours daily on social media, and almost 2 in 5 (38%) spend even more time than that. Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) said they use Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, making it the generation’s most-used social platform by a wide margin. Meta Platform Inc.’s Instagram ranked second, used by roughly three-fourths (76%) of Gen Zers.
While Gen Z didn’t have a choice in being thrust into a digital world, they’ve proactively embraced many aspects of internet culture — including online gaming and advanced technologies like the metaverse — at much higher rates than older generations.
Brands across every sector are taking note.
YouTube and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok both celebrated the outsized role that gamers have played in their respective communities through global live-streaming events earlier this year. Nike Inc. recently launched “.Swoosh,” its first virtual sneaker trading platform. And even luxury retailers are getting into the Gen Z way of life: Many continue to announce partnerships with younger-skewing gaming platforms like Roblox and Fortnite, where activations range from designing in-app clothing lines to organizing meet-and-greets with digital avatars of their celebrity brand ambassadors.
As more Gen Zers age into adulthood, marketers will follow the coveted consumer bloc wherever they go next — which will likely be even more online than they already are.
The Nov. 2-8, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 25, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. A separate Nov. 2-4, 2022, survey was conducted among a representative sample of 2,210 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Ellyn Briggs is a data reporter at Morning Consult covering brands and marketing. @ellynbriggs