Gen Z Revealed: Part 1

Justin Daab
Customer & Market Insights, Customer Experience Design

Device Usage

Millennials (born between 1981-1993) get a lot of airtime since they’re the largest generation in the US workforce. And being the largest generation in the workforce means they have the largest disposable income—courting the majority of focus for many brands. However, Gen Z (born between 1994-2014) is now the single largest population segment and comprises 48% of the total media audience.

Given the rise of Gen Z, and their inevitably dramatic influence on every aspect of society, culture and business for the coming decades, we decided it was a great time to survey 500 Gen Z members from across the United States, to understand just what may be coming over the generational horizon, so to speak.

This post—the first peek at our overall results—focuses on their relationships to the digital devices the rest of us have grown addicted to, that they have functionally known for their entire conscious lives. If Millennials were the first true digital natives, Gen Z are the first mobile connected natives.

First, we focused on just how much time Gen Z’s spend on devices.

At first blush, they seem less dependent on their screens, with 26% of Gen Z respondents claiming to be off their devices entirely for seven or more hours during the day—far less than either the Millennial or the Gen X generations at this point. However, 23% of respondents claimed to be on a device during the majority of their waking hours. So why the broad separation of behaviors?

We speculate that the results may be accurate but reflect a unique underlying trait for a great portion of our respondents—they’re still in school, which makes it likely they’re in class and prevented from accessing any personal device. It may also be a nomenclature issue around the meaning of “device.” A discrepancy in categorizing uniformly could mean some are inadvertently underreporting their device usage. Conclusion: this result may need further inquiry.

Second, we queried for what devices Gen Zers use the most.

No surprise, 93.5% use a smartphone. What is surprising is that only 8.7% of Gen Z respondents claim to use a wearable device. Also surprising is the strong showing for traditional television.

Third, we inquired as to which devices might they abandon in the next five years.

The results, as you can see below, point to the already questionable stature of the tablet market now seemingly facing outright abandonment.


Magnani is an experience design and strategy firm that crafts transformational digital experiences to delight users and deliver sustainable competitive market advantages for our clients.


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