Move over millennials, Gen-Z now the largest single population segment

According to Nielsen data, Gen-Z is now 26 percent of the population.

Chat with MarTechBot

Teens Mobile Smartphones Genz Youth Ss 1920

According to Nielsen’s new Total Audience report, millennials and Gen-Z now comprise 48 percent of the total media audience. Gen-Z in particular is now the single largest audience segment at 26 percent (although there’s a vast age range).

Because members of Gen-Z are different in key ways from millennials, the demographic shift holds some implications for brands and retail marketers. Gen-Z is defined as those born between 1997 and 2015. The oldest members of the generation are now 20. The oldest millennials are now 37.

Screen Shot 2017 07 14 At 11.46.21 AM

Source: Nielsen Total Audience Report (Q1 2017)

While members of Gen-Z look like millennials from an overall device ownership perspective, there are a few key differences. According to Nielsen, they watch less conventional and DVR-based TV than earlier generations. They also spend far less time accessing the internet via PCs than older groups.

Millennials and Baby Boomers spent on average 1:02 hours accessing the internet over a PC on a daily basis in the first quarter of 2017. Gen X spent about 1:20, according to the report. By contrast, Gen-Z spent eight minutes per day online via PC. The vast majority of their online time is spent on mobile devices.

How Gen-Z prefers to make purchases

Screen Shot 2017 07 14 At 1.05.59 PM

Source: IBM “Uniquely Generation Z” study (2017)

Members of Gen-Z are more likely to buy in stores than millennials and prefer it to ecommerce, according to multiple studies. However, technology heavily influences those mostly in-store purchase behaviors.

According to a Euclid Analytics consumer retail behavior survey, Gen-Z uses mobile apps and features on mobile phones more than other demographic segments in retail stores. Texting and Snapchat in particular are much more heavily used:

The use of Snapchat is the most dramatic difference between Gen Z and other groups. More than 40% of Gen Z respondents say they use Snapchat in a store, compared to only 15% of other respondents. Texting remains the most popular activity overall, especially with Gen Z. Half the Gen Z respondents say they text while in a store, compared to 39% of other respondents. The only mobile feature Generation Z uses less than other groups is Google search.

Which mobile apps / features do you use the most while shopping in a retail store? Screen Shot 2017 07 14 At 1.11.01 PM

Source: Euclid “Evolution of Retail” report (2017)

Gen-Z is the next generation of mass-market consumers. While they share some of the behavior patterns and characteristics of millennials, they have distinct preferences and expectations that brands and retailers must understand and address.

Contributing authors are invited to create content for MarTech and are chosen for their expertise and contribution to the martech community. Our contributors work under the oversight of the editorial staff and contributions are checked for quality and relevance to our readers. The opinions they express are their own.

About the author

Greg Sterling
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

Fuel up with free marketing insights.