A Look Inside Its Mobile-First Mindset
It's time to get to know Generation Z.
Millennials have captivated marketers attention for years, but here we shift the spotlight to 13- to 17-year-olds.
In partnership with Ipsos, we explored this generation’s behaviors, tastes, and wants—which all act as bellwethers of future consumer trends. We were surprised to uncover notable differences between ethnic groups. And we found a marked evolution in their digital behaviors.
Today's teens had phones when they were in elementary or middle school, compared to high school or college for their older counterparts. And that shift is already shaping behaviors. Teens are moving from texting to messaging apps and from shopping on desktop computers to shopping on their phones.
While millennials were mobile pioneers, teens are mobile natives. Yet teens are equal parts aware of and wary of their dependence on technology—meaning their online lives are both spontaneous and carefully curated. This report shares new insights to help marketers better understand Gen Z and its members’ behaviors. For additional insights, download our full reports.
“Something that differentiates us from other generations is our ability to use and bend technology. Nowadays you have children already thinking about computer engineering and coding. It will be very exciting to see what this leads to in the future.”Guillermo, Age 16
“It’s overwhelming how much access we have to technology nowadays. It’s hard to imagine another thing we need. I feel like every need is catered to—there are so many options.”Lucy, Age 17
“When I got a phone, it was really important socially. It was like, oh my gosh, you’re accepted now. Everyone wanted to be your friend because you got a new phone.”Cyan, Age 17
“There is not as much face-to-face interaction today. ... Now people just talk about what they saw on their phones instead of real life. More face-to-face interaction would be nice, but sometimes we don’t know what to talk about, so we find interesting things online.”Diego, Age 15
Top 5 screens used
While teens have a reputation as gamers, laptops, TVs, and of course, smartphones still reign supreme.
% who use each device
- Game Console
One thing teens and adults have in common: They use their phone more than any other device. Choose a demographic to see where they differ.
Early mobile adoption
Across ethnicities, today's 13- to 17-year-olds got their first smartphone at an earlier age than their older counterparts.
Mobile is the new primetime
Teens are shifting from texting to messaging apps to communicate.
% who say they spend 3+ hours per day on this activity
Watching mobile video is how teens spend a lot of their time. Select a demographic above to see how they differ.
“I do go for name brands—mostly because they have better customer service—but I also like to go with brands that aren’t very popular yet. They’re more unique.”Griffin, Age 15
“When someone your age is doing something in the ad or it pertains more to you personally, those strike me.”Cyan, Age 17
“I rarely go to a store unless I know the store has the product I want.”Mitch, Age 17
“When you buy stuff online, you obviously look for pictures. You get more of a feel for something. Most times, I wouldn’t buy something if there wasn’t a picture.”Grace, Age 13
Emerging online purchasing power
While the majority of teens make purchases online, Hispanic teens shop online closer to the rate of young adults and adults.
% who make purchases online
A generation of mobile shoppers
Across ethnicities, teens mostly use their smartphones to make purchases.
% that mostly use smartphones to make online purchases
The cool factor
Teens are the only age group that say ads influence their perception of "cool" products.
Top 3 aspects that make a product "cool"
talking about it
ad about it
Dive deeper on teens with the following reports:
All quotes were collected via phone interviews with 11 teens, U.S., Dec. 2016.
Other data from Google/Ipsos, U.S., "The Mobile-First Mindset of Gen Z," all teens defined as 13- to 17-year-olds n=1,000, Hispanic teens n=996, Black teens n=1000, 18- to 24-year-olds n=1,009, 25- to 34-year-olds n=1,004, Aug. 2016.