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Last update: November 2019

6 mins to read

Generation Z – Their Mobile Habits and How To Speak to Them

Generation Z are the latest frontier in terms of age brackets marketers are looking to target. Gen Z are the demographic of youths aged 14 through 24. They are marching against climate change. They coined the term “OK, Boomer.” Gen Z are also the first generation to be born digital natives, and so their behavior with smart devices is something analysts are scrambling to understand. Luckily, App Annie has shed some light on the subject with her recent report, “How To Win Gen Z.” This 32-page report offers some fascinating insights on the youngest generation, their relationship with mobile devices, and the market opportunities they provide.

Stats show that worldwide, growth top 25 app usage by Gen Z users is outstripping growth of app usage by all other generations. These are incredible numbers, proving that a solid strategy for speaking to this youngest generation is a must-have.

Image Source: “How To Win Gen Z,” App Annie

Generation Z Is Learning from Millennials’ Digital Mistakes

From their attitudes toward social media and other digital platforms, it’s clear that Gen Z have seen where the previous generation went wrong. They are watching less TV. They still use social media frequently, but are veering away from the mega-platforms of Facebook and Twitter. Generation Z prefer platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. They are less likely to share personal information. And, having come of age in the attention economy, they use ad-blocking software more frequently than older generations.

As one would expect, the lion’s share of their mobile usage lies in games and entertainment. But their gaming habits are slightly different from those of millennials. Generation Z use their top apps with 15% more frequency than other generations. However, when it comes to gaming apps, they fall behind.

“Those 25 and older spend 30% longer in their most used games, and access them 20% more frequently.”

Is this a result of Gen Z kids being born with smartphones in their hand, and thus are seeking out alternative forms of leisure? Or is it because brands such as Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass need to brainstorm new strategies of recommending their services?

Spending Power Goes Towards Services

Interestingly, despite just barely having entered the workforce, Generation Z already spends $44 billion annually, and they influence $600 billion of household spending. Gen Z are also more financially independent than their millennial predecessors, who came of age during a global recession. Generation Z, for the most part, have enjoyed relative economic prosperity, with a larger percentage of them moving out from their parents’ homes at a younger age. They also find themselves drawn to entrepreneurship in larger numbers than millennials.

So with all this spending power, what is Gen Z spending its money on? Studies show they are more interested in services rather than paying for a one-off item or experience. For example, having grown up with subscriptions to Netflix, Uber, and Spotify being the norm, Generation Z would rather pay for an account that provides them quality content than pay for the individual movies, songs, or taxi rides.

What Does Generation Z Want?

This is another unique practice of Generation Z. Born into a world where excessive consumption of content is the norm, under-25s must have an inherent inoculation to distracted scrolling through newsfeeds. Gen Z have deeper engagement with their preferred apps, with an average of 3.7 hours and 150 sessions per app over the course of a month. So if you can grab the attention of a Gen Z user, they will reward you for it.

When using a social media platform, Generation Z are less likely than their predecessors to use it to connect with friends. Rather, they will be looking to fill up the time with quality content. App Annie states:

“If brands want to engage Gen Z on social, the content needs to be entertaining and unobtrusive. Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat have all developed exemplars of short and engaging content. Snapchat’s creator shows highlight this trend by offering 3 to 5 minute episodes featuring both YouTube stars as well as celebrities that are even more universally know[n], including Serena Williams.”

What’s more, studies show Generation Z reacts strongly to the use of celebrities in advertising. This means both internet personalities and influencers as well as conventional celebrities such as athletes and actors.

Top Generation Z Apps By Vertical

The report offers a very interesting index of the top 10 most used apps by Gen Z according to vertical and country. In terms of conversational apps, Snapchat, Kik Messenger, and Discord rank high – all apps that offer instantaneous and short-lived communication. With entertainment apps, Twitch is in the top two for the US, UK, and South Korea. PlayStation App and Netflix also perform well across the board.

In the US and UK, Wish ranks near the top, possibly due to its being an eCommerce platform that offers novelty items for cheap. And when it comes to financial apps, Gen Z seem to be more open-minded to purely digital money-managing platforms. These include PayPal, Venmo, and Google Pay. In the US, there are also a few apps that offer cryptocurrency trading, such as Coinbase and Robinhood.

Overall, this report offers an insightful look into the digital activities of the generation who will soon be driving the world economy. 98% of Generation Z own a smartphone, and on average have had one since the age of 10. With a wealth of digital content at their disposal, they are very discerning as to what they’ll engage with. Growing up seeing the dangers of a large digital footprint, they opt for apps where posts are private or temporary.

In light of all this, push notifications are the optimal means of speaking with Generation Z. They’re instantaneous, personalizable, and – crucially – they disappear once engaged with. And while there are many different avenues to explore when strategizing a marketing campaign, notifications are a must-have if you want to reach the digitally native, mobile-fluent Gen Z consumers.

Get in touch with one of our experts and we’ll get you started with building a mobile engagement campaign that will optimize your app’s user interaction and retention!

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