Description

“Gen Z is a unique generation that is growing its purchasing power each year. Millennials were a focus for years, but their upbringings were more similar to Gen X than Gen Z. Thanks to the rapid innovation taking place in the mid-2000s, Gen Z’s young lives have been unlike any generation before them, which is helping to shape their consumption habits. The result is that digital technology is at the centre of nearly everything they do on a daily basis.
The importance of tech is at odds with this generation’s impact from COVID-19, though. They have been particularly hard hit in terms of unemployment and are dealing with this crisis just as many are starting their careers. Tech will remain central to their lives going forward – it is all they know – but they will be forced to make difficult decisions about what tech they need and what they can do without as the economy forces them to tighten their budgets.”
– Scott Stewart, Senior Tech & Media Analyst

This report will look at the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on Gen Z and their usage and demand of tech
  • The potential future challenges of a tech-savvy generation facing an unprecedented economic downturn as they are beginning their adult lives
  • How smartphones have become the central communication and entertainment hub for Gen Z
  • How the rapid growth of digital technology in the mid-2000s means that Gen Z’s upbringing has been significantly different than even the generation before them, Millennials

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Gen Z needs tech, but COVID-19 will make it harder to afford
              • Figure 1: Spending priorities change: technology and communications, Gen Z vs overall, May 2020
            • Smartphones are the central tech device for Gen Z
              • Figure 2: Smartphone digital activities among Gen Z, March 2020
            • Gen Z is a highly visual generation
              • Figure 3: Social media sites visited daily, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
            • Social media matters more to Gen Z than other generations
              • Figure 4: Attitudes towards social media, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
            • There are distinct differences between Gen Z and Millennials
              • Figure 5: Internet celebrity follows, Gen Z vs Millennials, March 2020
            • What it means
            • The Impact of COVID-19 on Tech Habits of Gen Z

              • Summary
                • Figure 6: Short, medium and longer term impact of COVID-19 on Gen Z, May 2020
              • Opportunities and Threats
                • Despite challenges, this generation is the most prepared for staying at home
                  • Gen Z value community and generosity
                    • Tone will be particularly important in marketing messaging
                      • Figure 7: Stay apart, stay together | Samsung, April 2020
                    • Budget-friendly tech will become more relevant
                      • Figure 8: Apple Twitter post, April 2020
                      • Figure 9: Galaxy A Official Launch Film: AWESOME is for everyone, December 2019
                    • Impact on the market
                      • Tech brands and categories will be forced to compete for fewer dollars
                        • Figure 10: Spending priorities change: technology and communications, Gen Z vs overall, June 2020
                      • How the crisis will affect key consumer segments
                        • Those still living at home with their parents may need to extend their stays
                          • How a COVID-19 recession will reshape Gen Z’s tech habits
                            • Long-term impact on Gen Z employment opportunities could impact tech demand
                              • Figure 11: Canadian unemployment rate, May 2005-2020
                            • COVID-19: Canadian context
                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                              • Teenage years play an important role in shaping adult behaviours
                                • Gen Z is a smaller generation than Millennials
                                  • Gen Z is an ethnically diverse generation
                                    • Housing costs will impact Gen Z differently than Millennials
                                      • Anxiety and loneliness are higher among Gen Z
                                      • Market Factors

                                        • Teenage years play an important role in shaping adult behaviours
                                          • Gen Z is a smaller generation than Millennials
                                            • Figure 12: Share of Canadian population aged 12 years and over, July 2019
                                          • Gen Z is an ethnically diverse generation
                                            • Figure 13: Ethnic origins, 2016 census
                                          • Housing costs will impact Gen Z differently than Millennials
                                            • Anxiety and loneliness are higher among Gen Z
                                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                              • Certain digital brands are particularly successful with Gen Z
                                                • Subscription models show Gen Z can provide constant revenue stream
                                                  • Gen Z uses their tech savvy to access free content
                                                    • Video games will become mainstream entertainment with Gen Z
                                                    • What’s Working?

                                                      • Certain digital brands are particularly successful with Gen Z
                                                        • Subscription models show Gen Z can provide constant revenue stream
                                                        • Challenges

                                                          • Gen Z uses their tech savvy to access free content
                                                          • What’s Next?

                                                            • Video games will become mainstream entertainment with Gen Z
                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Gen Z lifestyles
                                                                • Tech device ownership and purchase sources
                                                                  • Digital activities of Gen Z
                                                                    • Social media platform usage
                                                                      • Social media activities
                                                                        • Comparing Gen Z to Millennials
                                                                        • Gen Z Lifestyles

                                                                          • Gen Z consumers are at a different lifestage than others
                                                                            • Figure 14: Household income, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                            • Figure 15: Household size, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                          • Attitudinal differences of Generation Z
                                                                          • Tech Device Ownership and Purchase Sources

                                                                            • Gen Z is more interested in mobile tech than older age groups are
                                                                              • Figure 16: Tech devices owned, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Figure 17: Tech devices owned by Gen Z, by gender, March 2020
                                                                              • Figure 18: iPad Pro – Float, April 2020
                                                                            • Most Gen Z consumers rely on others to get some of their tech
                                                                              • Figure 19: Source of tech devices, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Figure 20: Source of tech devices among Gen Z, by student status, March 2020
                                                                              • Figure 21: Support teachers with Classroom Rewards, July 2019
                                                                          • Digital Activities of Gen Z

                                                                            • Gen Z engages in many different activities on mobile devices and PCs
                                                                              • Figure 22: Digital activities among Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                            • Full-length TV and movies are what make Gen Z unique
                                                                              • Figure 23: Media activities done on digital devices, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                            • Social activities on these devices are more similar across generations
                                                                              • Figure 24: Social activities done on digital devices, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                            • Gaming and cameras are very important to Gen Z
                                                                              • Figure 25: Other activities done on digital devices, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Figure 26: Galaxy S20: See your world differently | Samsung, June 2020
                                                                            • Specific device usage further illustrates how Gen Z is different
                                                                              • Smartphones are the most important devices
                                                                                • Figure 27: Smartphone digital activities among Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                                • Figure 28: Smartphone digital devices, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Personal computers are commonly owned, but more specialized than smartphones
                                                                                • Figure 29: Laptop/desktop digital activities among Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                                • Figure 30: Laptop/desktop digital devices, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Among Gen Z, tablets compete directly with smartphones
                                                                                • Figure 31: Tablet digital activities among Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                                • Figure 32: Made by Google Instagram Post, October 2019
                                                                            • Social Media Platform Usage

                                                                              • Gen Z is the Instagram generation
                                                                                • Figure 33: Social media sites visited daily, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                                • Figure 34: Gen Z daily social media site visits, by gender, March 2020
                                                                              • Social media preferences confirm that Instagram is on top
                                                                                • Figure 35: Gen Z social media sites spent most time on, March 2020
                                                                                • Figure 36: Social media sites spent most time on: Facebook and Instagram, by generation, March 2020
                                                                                • Figure 37: Social media sites spent most time on, 18-21s vs 22-25s, March 2020
                                                                            • Social Media Activities

                                                                              • Gen Z consumers use and create visual media
                                                                                • Figure 38: Social media content creation on an average day, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Gen Z’s participation on others’ social media is similar to average
                                                                                • Figure 39: Social media participation on an average day, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • The role of social media in Gen Z lives
                                                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes towards social media, overall vs Gen Z, March 2020
                                                                              • Concern for Gen Z mental wellbeing
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Netflix Canada Instagram Post, April 2020
                                                                              • Comparing Gen Z to Millennials

                                                                                • Why a direct comparison is important
                                                                                  • Millennials are at a different life stage than Gen Z
                                                                                    • Figure 42: Marital and parental status, Gen Z vs Millennials, March 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 43: Current living situation, Gen Z vs Millennials, March 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 44: Employment status, Gen Z vs Millennials, March 2020
                                                                                  • Tech ownership suggests generational differences
                                                                                    • Figure 45: Tech devices owned, Gen Z vs Millennials, March 2020
                                                                                  • Gen Z uses media differently than Millennials
                                                                                    • Figure 46: Internet celebrity follows, Gen Z vs Millennials, March 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 47: Video streaming services subscribed to, Gen Z vs Millennials, January 2020
                                                                                    • Figure 48: Quibi Instagram post, April 2020
                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                      • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                            • Terms

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