Move Over Millennials! Meet the Next Wave of Market Consumers

Millennials using mobile devices to interact with media.

Look out Millennials, Gen Z is now the largest single population segment in the United States. This is of significance for marketers. The latest and greatest data from Nielson shows Millennials and Generation Z together comprise 48% of the total media audience.

But why is this news, you ask? The study reveals key differences in media consumption and buying habits between Gen Z and Millennials that should be highly considered by marketers – as Gen Z moves up as the next mass-market consumers.

Digital Natives With Unique Media Consumption Habits

Say hello to Gen Z! These tech-savvy, social media specialists have ingrained media into their everyday lives, providing an ongoing connection with the world around them. A majority of their time outside of school is spent on mobile devices and computers, exposing them to multiple forms of content each day. This generation typically watches less conventional TV and DVR-based programming as opposed to earlier generations. Aside from being dominantly connected through digital media, consumers of Gen Z are more inclined to favor purchases that align with their inner selves as opposed to material obsessions. This generation is becoming less focused on using brand names to drive purchasing decisions and are more focused on company values that align with their own.

Key Differences Between Gen Z and Millennials

Millennials are individuals born between 1980 and 1996.  This generation is showing more exposure to multimedia devices such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast and subscription video on demand services in their households, giving them access to multiple forms of content. Millennials typically spent their teenage years exposed to iPods and MySpace and were later exposed to the dominant world of social media. Most members of Gen Z, however, do not remember a time before this era. A recent survey on Millennials and social media shows a whopping 88% of Millennials receive information from Facebook. Gen Z, however, are less likely to use Facebook and more inclined to turn to YouTube to receive information, exposing themselves to a variety of advertisements and media efforts provided through this platform.

Media Exposure Based on Corresponding Life Stages

Media exposure and preference among generations are partly dictated by their corresponding life stages. The young people of Gen Z tend to live in homes of three or more people, where Millennials are likely in the early stages of their careers with lower incomes. With this in mind, Gen Z is showing higher exposure to more expensive devices and technology through other higher earners in their households, therefore being exposed to different media channels and content.

Differences in media consumption and buying behavior among Gen Z and Millennials are shaping the way marketers and advertisers strategize their communications. The teens and tweens that comprise Generation Z today are primed to become the dominant influencers of tomorrow that promise untold riches to marketers.