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A Foolish Take: Generation Z Still Clings to (Some) Older Technologies

By Leo Sun - Aug 27, 2018 at 12:00PM

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This demographic cohort shares some older tech habits with prior generations.

There's a pervasive belief that Gen Z, the digital-native generation born after 1997, is abandoning older technologies like traditional TVs, desktop PCs, and printed books. However, a recent survey by Ad Age Studio 30 and UNiDAYS revealed some surprising results.

A chart of Gen Z's digital habits.

Data source: Ad Age and UniDAYS. Chart by author.

These figures don't mean that Gen Zers are eschewing newer technologies. Indeed, 61% of respondents had fully switched over to streaming services, 98% owned smartphones, and about 80% consumed news through social media.

However, Gen Zers also aren't doing everything -- like buying products, reading books, or streaming movies -- on mobile devices. The survey also indicates that social networks and customer service chatbots won't replace emails anytime soon.

The survey is bad news for Facebook (META -0.39%), which is losing younger users as it tries to regain the public's trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company still retains younger users through Instagram, but a survey this spring from Hill Holliday's Origin found that 34% of Gen Zers planned to leave social media due to time management, privacy, and self-esteem concerns.

Gen Z appears to be a digitally savvy generation, but it also clings to certain analog habits while maintaining some skepticism regarding mobile and social platforms.

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