More than half (60%) of people born between 1996 and 2015, Gen Z, cannot go more than four hours without internet access before they feel uncomfortable.
This is one of the key findings from a study released by research firm The Center for Generational Kinetics and WP Engine. The research looked at how different generations, specifically Gen Z, expect to use the internet, and their future expectations regarding predictive AI, biometrics, AR and VR.
The Center for Generational Kinetics said the study confirms Gen Z has become the most “internet-dependent” generation, with 62% using it to access their friends and 59% relying on it for entertainment.
In contrast to the younger generation, Millennials (57%), Gen X (63%) and Boomers (67%) rely on the Internet largely to access information.
Fabio Torlini is senior VP and MD, international for WP Engine, a WordPress Digital Experience Platform that provides managed WordPress hosting for companies.
He believes that Gen Z are digital pioneers who are helping to create a path for the future of digital, and “marketers ignore that path at their own peril”.
Due to the pandemic, much of communication and modern life was forced to move online.
Torlini added: Gen Z was already comfortable in that new paradigm, so if you meet the digital needs of Gen Z, you’re ahead of the rest of the world.”
Gen Z are the generation most likely to believe in the positive impact of technology, with two-thirds (64%) believing the internet will bring people closer together.
President at The Center for Generational Kinetics, Jason Dorsey, said the past three studies have shown how differently Gen Z thinks and acts.
He added: “Their connected-ness, 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.”
Around a third (31%) of Gen Z said they expect the Internet to predict what they need and alert them before they need it, while 79% expect all software and digital experiences will have digital learning or AI capabilities.
Some of the older generations, Boomers (78%) and Gen X (68%), would prefer to stay anonymous on the internet and order everything manually.
One area where all generations agreed was the concern for the increased use of Artificial Intelligence, Millennials (69%) being more concerned than Gen Z (63%) on this issue.
The custom 30-question survey, designed collaboratively by WP Engine and The Center for Generational Kinetics, was conducted online between September and October 2019. There were 1,528 Western European (UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland) respondents aged between 14 and 59, including a 500-person over-sample in the UK.