GenZ Favors Smartphone For Video

GenZ, the age cohort born after 1995, favors smartphones to access and view video, according to new research by Sharethrough released on Wednesday.

The findings reveal that for GenZ, a smartphone isn’t just a phone and a computer—it’s also a tool to watch TV and video. In fact, GenZers are one­-third more likely to watch video on a phone each day than they are to watch video on TV, with 71% of those polled reporting using their phone to watch video daily, compared to 52% percent on a TV, and 45% on a computer.

The survey’s findings show the dominance of mobile and video among this generation—a massive departure from older generations, representing a gulf in media consumption habits that will likely only get wider with time. 

There’s no single “mobile” viewing style. Depending on where they are, GenZ show very different preferences for sound, full screen vs. in­feed viewing and reading.



Among other key findings:

  • Nearly three-­quarters (74%) of GenZ watch more than 30 minutes of mobile video each day, and one in six watch more than two hours. GenZers are watching video throughout the day, but how they watch depends on location.
  • At home, 87% of GenZ say they watch video with sound on and 85% watch it in full screen.
  • When watching at school/work and commuting, GenZers  overwhelmingly say that they prefer volume off (76% and 62% accordingly). 
GenZ are roughly split on their preference for full-screen vs. in-­feed viewing when waiting in line (50%), or when at school or work (44%). Silent autoplay video gives brands an “attention audition” with GenZ.
  • 77% of GenZ like being able to preview a video silently in-­feed before clicking to view it.
  • 79% of GenZ say the first three seconds of a video had a strong impact on whether they watched the rest.
  • 67% of GenZ like being able to watch a video silently while reading a headline and description for it. And like Millennials, GenZers rely on headlines as their own form of information.
  • 84% percent of GenZ say that a headline has a strong impact on whether they watched an in-­feed video ad.
The survey found that 26% of GenZ say they have search a brand online or go to its website or social media account after reading a headline in­feed. GenZ like to be self-­directed in how they engage with a brand.
  • 28% will do a search about a brand online after reading an native ad headline.
  • 25% will visit a brand’s website or social media page directly after reading an in-­feed ad headline. GenZ has a strong aversion to ads that try to control their Web behavior or clutter a site’s experience.

Among the members of GenZ surveyed that say they had seen an in­-feed ad in the last 90 days but had not clicked on any, 55% say that it was because they didn’t want be redirected to another site.

Among those in GenZ who use ad blocking software, the top reason (56%) was because they found ads to be disruptive to their experience online.

YouTube and Facebook are major drivers of this consumption. Fifty-eight percent of GenZ said they watch video on Facebook and YouTube each day (Snapchat was at 50% and Instagram 42%). Twitter lagged well behind, with just 24% of GenZ watching video there each day.

Sharethrough surveyed 300 members of GenZ using Qualtrics in late June and in July to obtain a comprehensive sense of how they’re engaging with and watching content online.  Panelists were served with general online content and TV questions to develop baseline for attitudes and behaviors and then exposed to autoplay in-feed native video ads and asked a series of behavioral and attitudinal questions.

The U.S. Census puts the population of GenZ at 69 million strong (22% of the U.S. population) and with a combined buying power of $43 billion.

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