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The age of privacy is over: Understanding the tech behaviour of Gen Z

18 Oct 17

New research by CommScope, entitled The Generation Z Study of Tech Intimates, has revealed why Generation Z has become the most technology intimate and connection dependent cohort in history.

From being a famous YouTube star as the number one desired career to checking their smartphones over 30 times in an hour, the report sheds some light on the behavior and trends of the “always-on” generation.

The research, involving 4,003 advanced technology users aged 13 to 22 in eight major cities around the world, found that:

  • Nearly two-thirds feel that the “age of privacy is over” and that nothing they do online is private, although most try to protect their personal privacy at all costs.
  • Their number one desired career was to be a famous YouTuber, followed by a cutting-edge software developer and Twitter celebrity with over one million followers.
  • The heaviest users check their smartphones more than 30 times an hour.
  • Gen Zers are increasingly prolific content creators and share that content freely with others via their networked devices.
  • More than 50% say internet access (or lack thereof) impacts who they socialise with and 49% saying it influences what products they purchase.
  • Gen Zers are far happier with their smartphones than with their service providers.
  • More than 60% of respondents are dissatisfied with their network connectivity when away from home, where they consider connectivity crucial to their lifestyles.

“Tech intimates, that check their devices every three minutes on average, are set to shape how we live, work and play in the future,” says Fiona Nolan, senior vice president of Global Marketing at CommScope.

“Their attitudes and usage of technology will have a big impact on society, paving the way for significant social, political and technological changes.”

In addition, the research showed three significant insights in terms of how this technology-intimate age group relates to the technology they use and rely on:

Time 

Gen Z sees time as a form of currency, using their connected devices to spend, save and waste time.  As the always-on generation, technology runs as an appendage or extension of their very identity. That identity is showcased through the apps where they spend the most time - YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

Place  

Through their connected devices, Gen Zers exist in a virtualised world where expression, enhancement and entertainment dominates.  The smartphone is their social hub and the epicenter of how they conduct their lives, and they feel safe and adept in this highly connected, content-sharing world.

Because they are so hyperconnected, it isn’t surprising that 63% say it would be extremely difficult to live without their smartphone.

Attitude 

Smart, opinionated and attached, Gen Z finds fulfillment in their devices. Their smartphones make them feel secure and they form rituals and habits related to using their devices more and more. 

Technology is essentially an indistinguishable part of their very identity and intertwined in their daily lives. Prioritising longer battery life, more memory/storage and faster internet speeds highlights their obsessive relationship with their device.

“These ‘Tech Intimates’ are huge consumers of mobile bandwidth and key influencers for their peer groups,” Nolan adds.

“We are committed to continually looking for insights to understand the needs of tomorrow’s user and help shape the networks of the future.”

“This research identifies areas of opportunity for service providers, smartphone manufacturers and businesses to attract loyalty from this generation as they look for faster, more reliable and ubiquitous network connectivity.”

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