Charlie McNeill Love
MILLENNIAL AND GEN Z ONLINE HABITS AND EXPECTATIONS
This will be interesting!
The Millennial and Gen Z collective is constantly connected; aged 10–41, they’ve grown up in the most digital age our society has ever seen, and are adept consumers of the tech that’s available. They shop, interact with friends and family, access information, and consume media all from the palm of their hands, and with this volume of digital consumption it makes sense that they hold some expectations around what digital media should involve.
This blog post is exploring what online habits and expectations are most common among the Millennial and Gen Z cohort.
IMMEDIACY & CONSTANT CONNECTION
Technology has evolved hugely over the last few decades, with more possible from our phones than ever before. This has rendered standard ‘office hours’ for companies obsolete. Instead, there is an expectation – especially with the younger generations that are Millennial and Gen Z – of constant connection with immediate accessibility.
This immediacy and constant connection afforded by technology is compounded by things such as social media, wherein it’s possible to interact with friends, family, companies, and public figures at all hours of the day, every day of the week.
BRANDS WITH PURPOSE
A strong product is no longer enough for a brand to be successful, especially in a digital space. Millennial and Gen Z individuals make up a huge proportion of active online users, and they are demanding that a brand has purpose behind it. They want brands with a strong mission with values that match – brands need to have a driving force that is greater than simply making money.
This generation is acutely aware of the issues our global society faces, from inequality and discrimination through to the climate crisis. It’s due to this, and the generational efforts to course correct, that Millennials and Gen Zs are more likely to support a brand that is investing themselves in fighting back against these issues, for the greater good of the planet and the people who live on it.
INCLUSIVITY & DIVERSITY
Now more than ever there is an awareness of the importance of inclusivity and diversity in everyday life. We are becoming more attuned to the challenges faced by marginalised individuals and groups, and those who live with the benefits of privilege are learning of the systemic issues that they are fortunate enough not to be impacted by.
While these conversations and this education is being carried out offline, it’s also – rightly – taking up space in the online world. People with lived experiences of marginalisation are stepping forward to share their stories, and offering a safe space for them is something that Millennial and Gen Z individuals are driving.
Inclusivity and diversity online are non-negotiables for Millennial and Gen Z persons, and brands are taking note of its importance, and opening up the conversation on their own platforms. Whether it’s showcasing a new range of truly size-inclusive clothing, promoting businesses owned and run by BAME individuals, spotlighting stories of disability, or something else entirely.
IMPORTANCE OF AUTHENTICITY
The Millennial and Gen Z cohort are being shown to favour genuine authenticity over perceived perfection. This authenticity is something that they expect of not only personal, but also business accounts. It’s all well and good for a profile to claim to be passionate about a cause, but if their online activity contradicts this then it’s hard to reconcile.
Millennial and Gen Z individuals have developed a knack of being able to spot a performative behaviour a mile off, and recognise the lack of authenticity. Whether a person is resharing posts that raise awareness for a social issue while maintaining behaviours that perpetuate this same issue, or whether a business is inflating their supposed sustainable credentials with no substance to back up their claims, the Millennial and Gen Z generation can spot it a mile off.
What’s clear to see with these habits is a trend towards openness and honesty, in all aspects of online activity. Whether it’s shining a light on little-spoken-about subjects to remove the long-held taboo, or creating a space for everyone to be their true selves without risk of judgement, this younger demographic is all for it. As this is the generation of tomorrow, it’s important for companies to take note of these trends, and adjust their online presence accordingly, in order to stay relevant among the crowd.
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