Gen Z, born between 1996-2015, is the most Internet-dependent generation, with their digital fluency positioning them in firm first place in technology use across all generations.
This was recently observed in the third annual, international study of Gen Z, conducted by The Center for Generational Kinetics and commissioned by WP Engine.
Why Gen Z and their digital fluency matters
2020 has taught us the stark importance of the digital world. Billions of people went online to work, study, and to stay in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After years of reluctance in adopting digital transformation strategies, the pandemic has forced organisations to reprioritise and implement digital innovation with immediate effect.
The companies who will succeed in this new world are those who have reimagined activities that were typically done in the physical world as digital experiences. And for many consumers, these new digital experiences, from home workouts to order-ahead grocery pick-ups, have often proved more enjoyable and more convenient than those offline.
For Gen Z, this is nothing new. They’ve never drawn a distinction between the physical and the digital world. For them, whether online or offline, the critical element is that you can seamlessly move between each. They’re leading this shift in consumer behaviour with their digital fluency and articulating nothing less than a new paradigm for digital experiences.
Please Gen Z, please everyone
“Gen Z are digital pioneers and have charted the path for the rest of the world to go fully digital,” said Mark Randall, Country Manager, ANZ for WP Engine.
“In Australia, lockdown has caused a profound change in the way we do everything, from shopping to eating to engaging with friends and family. Gen Z was already comfortable in that new paradigm, so if you meet the digital needs of Gen Z, you now meet the needs of the rest of the world.”
Seeing tech as a positive
Gen Z are far more likely than other generations to believe in the positive impact of technology on the world. For example, the research highlighted that:
- 65% think artificial intelligence will have a positive impact
- 75% believe the Internet will bring us closer together
In fact, when asked which value, quality, or attribute is most important to your generation, Gen Z rated tech-savviness (22%) almost as highly as freedom (27%).
What can we learn about Gen Z that will help us with our other consumer groups, especially post-pandemic?
Gen Z are ultimately the driving the future, placing high demand on digital convenience and connectedness. Some of their characteristics, listed below, help businesses draw on their identity and values, which will now also be emphasised across other generations as a result of the pandemic.
- Web or die
52% of Gen Z can’t go more than 4 hours without Internet access before they become uncomfortable.
- In the Internet we trust
In 5 years, 67% of Gen Z think the Internet will determine what they will do on a daily basis.
54% of Gen Z is friends with someone they only know online.
“Gen Zers are a huge, diverse generation and the fastest growing group of employees, customers, and voters,” said Jason Dorsey, President at The Center for Generational Kinetics.
“As we’ve seen over the past three studies, this generation thinks and acts very differently. Their connectedness, their ability to navigate change quickly and their desire to have a positive impact on the world are all reflected in their higher expectations of technology and organisations.”
What does Generation Z expect from digital experiences?
Raised on social media, Gen Z expects the broader technology world to know what their likes, wants and interests are. They see this as minimizing some of the daily decisions they have to make so they can focus on the more important topics. And, as we’ve seen in past studies, this is a generation of pragmatists, self-starters and entrepreneurs, so if it doesn’t exist, Gen Z will build it.
- Get to know me
66% believe that all websites will “talk” to each other, so every site/app/appliance will present a personalized experience.
72% believe websites will know what you are looking for before you tell it
- Press ahead
67% of Gen Z has personally used, worked with someone else, or hired someone to use WordPress for a website.
To read the complete “Gen Z: Resetting Expectations for the Digital Experience” study, visit https://wpengine.com/gen-z-aus/, where you can learn more about the results.