September 7, 2016
While Gen Z consumers use their smartphones more frequently than any other age group, they are also more likely to actively avoid marketing on mobile, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
The annual review of mobile and online use across generations shows that mobile use continues to become more frequent and sophisticated. One surprising finding from the report, The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2016, USA, is that use of wearables is declining.
“Gen Zers are a prime target for many companies,” said Gina Fleming, manager of data science at Forrester Research and author of the report. “They are extremely connected and love social media and technology.
“But they also have some characteristics that make them challenging for companies that want to market to them,” she said.
Use of smartphones, tablets and Internet-connected TVs continued to grow in 2016, with three-quarters of U.S. online adults using a smartphone, per the report.
However, wearables are losing traction, with the share of consumers using these devices dropping from 21 percent in 2015 to 14 percent in 2016.
Gen Z, consumers aged 18 to 27, are an important audience for mobile marketers given how active they are on their phones and on social media.
However, Gen Z presents some challenges for marketers. While Gen Z is the generation most likely to stream video in a typical week and has the highest scores for embracing mobile, these consumers are also more Gen Y and Gen X to actively avoid advertising across mediums.
Gen Z also has limited purchasing power. So, even though they love to shop online, they spend considerably less than Gen Y.
Gen Z is also the most active generation on social media for personal use. However, when it comes to commercial social use, Gen Y has them beat.
On the other hand, Gen Y consumers boast the highest number of connected devices, high incomes and are savvy mobile and online shoppers.
The research found some key differences in how different generations are engaging on mobile.
When it comes to researching products, 61 percent of Gen Z does so on mobile at least weekly compared to 66 percent for Gen Y, 44 percent for Gen X, 26 percent for younger Boomers, 17 percent for older boomers and 12 percent for the Golden Generation.
When it comes to purchasing products, 40 percent of Gen Z does so at least weekly compared with 49 percent of Gen Y, 26 percent of Gen Z, 11 percent of younger Boomers, 7 percent of older Boomers and 4 percent of the Golden Generation.
In terms of using geolocation services, 37 percent of Gen Z does so at least weekly, compared with 38 percent of Gen Y, 35 percent of Gen X, 24 percent of younger Boomers, 18 percent of older Boomers and 13 percent of the Golden Generation.
However, Gen Z has Gen Y beat when it comes to taking photos on a phone, receiving text alerts, looking up direction, listening to music, sending or receiving work email, streaming music and streaming video.
“Thirty-nine percent of Gen Xers purchase physical goods on their mobile phones and 44 percent shop on their tablets – far behind Gen Yers but far ahead of the Golden Generation,” Ms. Fleming said.