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Millennials versus Generation Z

Gerrit Nagel

If the last 5 years of the world of marketing was completely dominated by millennials, then the next will be all about Generation Z. This generation, born between 1996 and 2010, will soon punch millennials (born between ’80 and ’95) from the throne as the most important target audience for brands, if it hasn’t been done so already.

As most research about Generation Z is based upon US research, two Dutch research companies recently joined forces to understand what moves this generation, what the differences are versus the ‘old’ Millennials and whether all the international research sketches an accurate picture indeed.

One of the topics researched is about media consumption. In general, for both generations, social media is their main source for gathering news and the old-fashioned newspapers are almost ‘dead’. Only 1 to 2% occasionally opens up a newspaper, probably the free one distributed around railway stations. Digital papers are regularly used by the way, although this is more the case for Millennials than for the younger generation.

In contrast to what is usually claimed in media, linear TV watching is definitely not extinct among youngsters. Although these days the devices are more often paper thin flat screens instead of the good old dark brown tubes, still, Generation Z and Millennials spend 26% and 32% (respectively) of their total TV watching to linear TV. It is notable that in non-rural areas these groups watch more than in the bigger cities. On average, youngsters watch 2.5 hours of television per day. Obviously, on-demand television like Netflix and RTL’s Videoland are most popular. Nevertheless the future of linear TV seems to be facing a decline in popularity among quite a number of interviewed respondents of both generations in this survey.

Interesting to see is that with regards to advertising though there is quite a difference in ‘acceptance’: Generation Z is more negative about offline advertising than the Millennials, while the latter especially dislikes online advertising. And in general when online advertising is concerned both groups appreciate native advertising instead of the forced exposure forms.

All Response Media viewpoint
Although we see the popularity of linear TV declining among these younger generations, the medium is definitely not obsolete or dead. Nevertheless, when this Generation Z population become possibly important decision makers for the purchase of products or services – let’s say in 3 to 17 years from now – we would need to have found other touch points where we can reach them and make them ‘click’.

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