New study shows changing habits across online shopping, work, school, and entrepreneurship.
London, UK —The fourth annual, international study of Gen Z, conducted by The Center for Generational Kinetics and commissioned by WP Engine, reveals new data on how Generation Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers adapted to digital in their own unique ways during the COVID-19 lockdowns. These ties to digital reveal insights for brands on how to reach these important audiences in different ways.
Embracing the new normal
Millennials and Gen Z are already a powerful economic force. With the resurgence of the economy and unprecedented spending, their influence grows every day—and will continue to do so for decades to come. To win more share of wallet from Millennials today and Gen Z’s $143 billion spending power, companies will need to create new customer engagement experiences powered by responsive, modern, scalable businesses and technology. Business leaders who adjust their approach to match these new market realities will have a tremendous advantage in reaching their customers now and into the future.
Understanding and winning Gen Z and Millennials now leads to winning every other generation, too. Failing to adapt to these influential trendsetters at this critical time eliminates two potent drivers of growth but also means you run the risk of losing existing customers, too. Recognising the outsized impact and influence of Gen Z and Millennials as trendsetters is why it is critical for leaders to separate generational myth from truth about them as customers and then take the appropriate action.
“Missing from the conversation on how to understand and best serve consumers, clients, and marketplaces now is statistically accurate data that specifically uncovers how generations have changed and adapted their specific online behaviour during the last year, including throughout the pandemic, and trends and behaviours that will shape the next 3-5 years following the recent surge into the digital world,” said Jason Dorsey, President at The Center for Generational Kinetics.
“Last year was memorable for a host of reasons, but one of the most significant is how the use of digital by generation has fundamentally changed,” said Eric Jones, VP of Corporate Marketing at WP Engine. “Understanding what makes each generation unique in their behaviour online is the foundation for building the compelling, effective, and innovative digital experiences of the future.”
The empowerment of entrepreneurship
Gen Z has often been described as the most entrepreneurial generation ever. According to the study, a whopping 66% of Gen Z plan to start their own business. Entrepreneurial plans remain strong. However, one interesting change from years past is the types of businesses they plan to start has changed. Plans for retail businesses is down to 21% in 2021 from 27% in 2019, while beauty and wellness now make Gen Z’s top 3 list for the first time in 2021 (20%).
The digital habits of every generation are forever changed
According to the UK study, a quarter of Gen Z tried online gaming (22%), online food delivery (30%), online grocery shopping (25%), online digital money transfer (24%) for the first time during the pandemic, while 17% had an online doctor visit for the first time. Meanwhile, over a third (36%) of Gen Z tried online video chatting and had their first online class experience (34%) for the first time during the pandemic.
- 34% of Gen Z will continue online food delivery and 29% of Gen Z will continue online grocery shopping moving forward.
How digital connected a locked-down generation
Gen Z and Millennials are much more dependent on the Internet compared to older generations. Over half of Gen Z (57%) and Millennials (54%) can’t go more than 4 hours without Internet access before they become uncomfortable.
- An overwhelming majority of Boomers (81%), Gen X (76%), Millennials (80%) and Gen Z (68%) say they rely on digital now more than ever.
To read the complete “GENERATION RESILIENCE: HOW THE PANDEMIC CHANGED DIGITAL FOR EVERYONE” study, please visit https://wpengine.com/resources/generation-resilience-digital-trends-and-behaviors-study/, where you can learn more about the results and download a copy of the ebook.
Survey participants in the UK longitudinal study consisted of 1,002 U.K. participants ages 14-59. The longitudinal study consisted of benchmark questions from 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021 allowing for a year-over-year analysis of consumer behaviours and generational trends. The sample was weighted to the U.K., with census for age, region, gender and ethnicity.
About WP Engine
WP Engine, the WordPress technology company, provides the most relied upon and trusted brands and developer-centric WordPress products for companies and agencies of all sizes, including managed WordPress hosting, enterprise WordPress, Headless WordPress, Flywheel, Local, and Genesis. WP Engine’s tech innovation and award-winning WordPress experts help to power more than 1.5 million sites across 150 countries.
About The Center for Generational Kinetics
The Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK) is the leading research, speaking, and strategy firm focused on Millennials, Generation Z, and solving generational challenges. CGK’s team of PhD researchers, strategists, and keynote speakers help leaders around the world solve tough generational challenges in areas ranging from employing multiple generations and recruiting Gen Z to selling and marketing to Millennials and across generations. Each year, CGK works with over 100 clients around the world, from car manufacturers and global hoteliers to insurance companies, hospital chains, and international software firms. CGK’s team is frequently quoted in the media about the effect of generational differences and emerging trends on everything from shopping and parenting to work style and social media. Learn more about CGK at GenHQ.com.