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5 min read

The Z Factor: Stats on Stats on Stats

The Z Factor: Stats on Stats on Stats

The me-conomy exists because of the shift in power from brands to people across demographics and nowhere is this change more evident than in the behavior we see from Gen Z. The youngest named generation already holds an estimated $143B in buying power and will soon make up 30% of the workforce. Along with millennials, Gen Zers are seeing an increase in spending power and are ready to spend their extra money well beyond pre-pandemic levels.

We’ve rounded up some of the key stats that will help you understand Gen Z and how they are affecting (and are affected by) the me-conomy.

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - diverse globalGen Zers are diverse and educated

Gen Zers see themselves as well-rounded individuals and are more likely to be non-white and college educated than any generation before them.

  • 58% see themselves as global citizens rather than citizens of their own country
  • 48% of American Gen Zers are non-white (making them the most diverse generation so far)
  • 59% enroll in college after finishing high school and they are on track to be the best educated generation

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - devices native

Gen Zers are digital natives

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up surrounded by digital/smart devices. Their entire lives, including educational, communication, shopping, and social habits, have been saturated in and shaped by technology and hyper-connectivity.

  • 61% use more than one device at a time
  • 74% of Gen Zers in the US communicate digitally more often than in person
  • 75% use a smartphone over a computer or tablet
  • 56% prefer to be anonymous online
  • 66% believe that the internet helps bring people together
  • 56% have friends that they only know online
  • 64% use their phone to shoot and distribute content

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - linear video

Gen Zers don’t watch linear TV

Gen Zers have mostly rejected traditional TV, but they spend a lot of time watching online videos. Some of this time is dedicated to ad-free streaming services, but Gen Z spends the largest portion of their online video watching time on YouTube (which is also the #1 streaming platform for music). 

  • Prefer ad-free streaming services to linear TV
  • Watch nearly 3.5 hours of online video every day
  • Spend 37% of online video watching on YouTube
  • 95% use another device while watching TV
  • 71% have a Netflix subscription
  • 62% visit YouTube daily
  • 33% watch even less TV since downloading TikTok

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - ads

Gen Zers are oversaturated with ads

Gen Zers are used to seeing marketing messages everywhere they look. These digital natives are also used to messages that have been tailored to fit their preferences and interests—and they prefer it that way.

  • 82% skip ads as fast as possible
  • 69% think that ads are disruptive
  • 62% would rather see ads personalized to their likes and activity rather than generic ones
  • 71% would like to see more diversity in advertising

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - social responsibility

Gen Zers have a complicated relationship with brands

Many Gen Zers are still developing their personalities and preferences and have not made lasting connections with brands . . . yet. They have, however, already shown a strong preference for socially responsible brands with well defined values. 

  • Percentage of Gen Zers who say they have a strong connection or loyalty to any brands
    • 19-to-21 year olds - 46%
    • 16-to-18 year olds - 39%
    • 13-to-15 year olds - 22%
  • 51% always research a brand to make sure it aligns with their position on corporate social responsibility before making a purchase
  • 42% say they don’t trust the average American company (higher than any other generation)
  • 59% say they do trust the brands they grew up with
  • 92% are concerned about social and environmental issues
  • 90% believe brands should help solve social and environmental issues
  • 81% believe that brands play an essential role in solving the world’s problems
  • 93% believe that being socially and environmentally responsible is the key to winning Gen Z loyalty
  • 88% prefer omnichannel branded experiences
  • 77% prefer brands that promote gender equality
  • Gen Zers share 2x as much positive feedback about brands as they do negative
  • 70% have written at least one online review
  • 62% worry about how their data is being used by companies
  • 64% believe brands should offer personalized experiences
  • 33% have stopped buying from a brand because of contributions to a cause they disagree with
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The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - personal

Gen Zers love quality, personalization, and immediacy

Gen Zers have grown up in a world of immediacy and personalization, and their purchase decisions reflect this. They are also quality conscious and will shift their loyalty if they believe a product or brand has worsening quality.

  • Gen Zers don’t carry cash and prefer immediate transactions [source: ANA]
  • More than 70% influence family purchasing decisions
  • 66% say product quality is most important factor in purchasing decisions
  • 75% are more likely to to buy products that include personalization
  • 58% are willing to pay more for products that include personalization
  • 68% are willing to pay more for ethical, sustainable products
  • 72% have made an online purchase in the past month (on any device)
  • 61% have made a purchase using mobile in the past month
  • 41% have used their phone to make an in-person purchase
  • More than ⅔ would make a purchase directly from social media channels

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - social media

Gen Zers are social media savvy (shocker!)

In addition to being digital natives, Gen Zers have largely grown up in a world where online social circles are just as real as in-person friends. They regularly interact with friends, family, and brands through social channels.

  • Spend nearly 3 hours on social media every day
  • 54% say that social media marketing has the most influence on their purchasing decisions
  • 85% learn about new products through social media
  • 25% have researched or purchased a product they saw on TikTok
  • 60% of TikTokers are Gen Z
  • 49% of US teens have used TikTok at least once
  • 34.3% get personal finance advice from TikTok and/or YouTube
  • 62% check Instagram every day
  • 48% follow brands on Instagram
  • 80% believe that they can impact social issues through social media
  • 2021 Gen Z’s top apps
    • Snapchat - 42.0M users
    • TikTok - 37.3M users
    • Instagram - 33.3M users

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - music

Gen Zers see music as an integral part of their lives

Gen Zers love music and often combine listening to music with their other activities. They are excited to discover new (to them) music and are driving catalogue revivals in addition to new music.

  • Listening to music is their second favorite entertainment activity (second only to playing video games), outranking browsing the internet and engaging on social media
  • . . . but even while they are playing video games, Gen Zers are listening to music, whether in-game or from an outside streaming service
  • 51% listen to streaming music every day
  • At 34%, Gen Zers are the largest group of Spotify users
  • Both Gen Z (and Millennials) rank listening to music as their top social media activity
  • Throughout 2020, listening to music online outranked searching for Coronavirus updates
  • 70% use their phone to listen to music/podcasts
  • 74% are interested in discovering new and emerging artists
  • Billie Holiday, Selena, and Grateful Dead all ranked among the top most discovered artists among Gen Z users

Spotlight: Acura 

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - Spotlight Acura

Acura’s Precision Crafted Performance initiative was designed to hearken back to the company’s long-running commitment to quality while looking to the future. For Acura, “Precision Crafted Performance” is less of a slogan and more of a mantra. From design to engineering to production to marketing, the brand is invested in centering customer experience and delivering the highest quality vehicles. 

In an effort to reach younger, newer drivers, MAX helped Acura identify several artists who aligned with Acura’s message (a commitment to quality, innovation, and value) and created a series of niche campaigns that also appealed to Gen Zers’ love of personalization and individuality. The campaign was promoted across a mix of media and social channels, meeting Gen Zers where they already spend their time. Acura gave fans intimate live experiences with their favorite artists that felt tailor-made for them. They also generated leads by offering fans the chance to win exclusive VIP experiences with unique breakthrough artists who embody the Acura brand.

MAX Insights

Gen Zers (much like Millennials before them) aren’t some enigmatic, unknowable, mysterious monolith. The best way to understand Gen Zers is to see them the way they see themselves: as unique, diverse citizens of the world, guided by values and a sense of social responsibility, tech savvy, but grounded in reality.

The Me-Conomy Pt 5 - The Z Factor - Hub Graphic


Check out parts one, two, three, and four of our MAX Original Series: The Me-Conomy and subscribe to our weekly newsletter to keep up with the latest on the Me-Conomy and other MAX news.

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