by. Julia Livesey

It’s no surprise that Gen Zers are quickly making an impact on the media landscape. Their media habits are different than the generations that preceded them as technology, social networks and streaming encompass their everyday lives. Gen Zers consider the combination of media and technology pivotal in maintaining community and staying informed. With a quickly evolving media landscape it’s crucial to understand how this generation is consuming media—what are their technology and media preferences and how can we reach them? This generation grew up in an era where multifunctional devices blurred the line between usage and content consumption. This interconnection of devices promotes simultaneous use, which makes what Gen Zers are consuming more important than where.

Streaming services (both audio and video) and digital video are at the top of their consumption list whereas watching traditional television or listening to the radio occur much less frequently than their older cohorts. Roughly 94% of this generation will stream video in 2023 with Netflix and YouTube being the top platforms they turn to. If they’re online they’re probably watching digital video as it has become the most popular form of content among this audience. The share of Gen Zers who will watch digital video at least monthly this year is greater than any other generation, at 93.8%. TikTok and YouTube remain their preferred ad-supported video platforms. YouTube will capture 86.6% of Gen Zers this year, while 66.7% will be on TikTok. However, Gen Z makes up only about a quarter of YouTube’s user base but almost half of TikTok’s. This means content on TikTok is more likely to be seen by Gen Z than any other generation.

Gen Zers are also consuming social media differently than ever before. Social platforms are no longer a place for sharing pictures and videos and keeping up with friends and family. Gen Z views every social platform as having a purpose, whether it be to watch videos, view stories, or spark discussion. These platforms have become their lifeline and the way they learn about the world around them. Gen Zers spend most of their daily time with TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. Surprisingly, Instagram is expected to surpass TikTok penetration in 2024.

Podcasts and digital gaming also play prominent roles in their everyday life. Podcast penetration will grow the fastest among Gen Z, reaching 66% by 2027. Spotify and YouTube are their preferred platforms as 40% of adult Gen Zers look to Spotify to access podcast media. More importantly, they’re listening to podcast ads—more than a quarter of Gen Z listeners have bought a product or service because of a podcast ad.

As one of the few media habits not solely consumed on a smartphone, Gen Zers will narrowly overtake millennials in terms of gaming usage. 63% of adults in this generation play games on their console or PC at least once a week and teens in this age group are more likely to game on a console than a mobile device or PC. Digital gaming is undoubtedly becoming Gen Z’s domain as they have a penchant for socializing in a digital space.

While consumption habits will continue to shift over time, Gen Z’s impact on the media landscape is here to stay. Understanding media usage and behaviors within this age group is crucial for marketers and advertisers looking to reach this digitally-focused generation.