Unlike their predecessors, who use the internet mainly to source information, 86 percent of Gen Z rely on the internet primarily for social media and entertainment, demonstrating a marked shift from “inform me” to “entertain me.”
Where prior generations saw function or utility, Gen Z sees fun, connection and emotion. For them, there is no “online” or “internet.” Gen Z doesn’t distinguish whether they are online, on an app, in a social network’s platform or walking around with their mobile phone. To this generation, the digital world is ubiquitous and blends seamlessly with the real world- they price shop in stores, they hang out with their loved ones while waiting online and they watch their favourite shows together with thousands of friends.
The expectation is not just that the web will play an increasingly larger role in their life, but that it is, and will continue to be, an absolutely integral part of their life. 51 percent of Gen Z believes that in five years the internet will determine what they do on a daily basis, 38 percent believes their online reputation will determine their dating options, and a surprising 68 percent believes that online actions, including social media posts and past purchases, will affect future job offers. 58 percent of Gen Z even believe that they predict internet usage will be as accurate for understanding whether a person gets a loan as their credit score.
Gen Z doesn’t just view the digital world differently; they are more dependent on it than previous generations. 22 percent of Gen Z can’t go for more than one hour without the internet while 33 percent of Boomers can go two or more days without it. Another 39 percent of Gen Z says they could only comfortably go without online access for 2-8 hours. In other words, 61 percent of Gen Z can’t go more than eight hours without being online.
This generation is a large, increasingly influential group with a relationship to technology unlike any previous generation. In fact, their human experience is their digital experience, and they are dependent upon it. Gen Z has never known a time devoid of online access and they depend on it for entertainment over information.
They also crave authenticity in all aspects of these digital experiences, and see security enabling better, more personalised interactions. They believe the future will be personal, with connected appliances and devices and uniformly personalised experiences across websites, apps, and platforms. This presents a huge opportunity to connect with them – in more human, more secure, more predictive and more personalised ways than ever before.