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3 Popular Media Consumption Habits of Millennials and Gen Z

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed peoples’ relationships with brands and media. With everyone in lockdown away from work and school, nearly every platform saw boosts in traffic, offering new insights on media consumption habits.

The media consumption habits of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2021) should interest brands and agencies. What’s changed? What stayed the same? Come along with us as we explore some popular media trends.

1. Social Media Consumption Habits

There are more choices than ever for digital entertainment. While movies and TV remain a staple across the globe, younger generations are turning to alternative sources forentertainment.

Thanks to powerful algorithms, social media platforms have evolved to deliver more personalized content, feeding users a steady stream of videos, articles, and even shopping opportunities. 

In a recent Channel Factory survey, we determined that many millennials and Gen Zers access platforms like YouTube and Facebook/Meta to find more information about topics of interest. Others specifically turn to YouTube to boost their mood and relax.

Users often become brand ambassadors on social media. In that same survey, we found that 52% of users would share ads if they thought their friends or family would be interested in the product. We also learned that 50% of Generation Z would share ads if they thought the ads were creative and cool.

That said, context matters. Advertisers n must be conscious in targeting the right audience to avoid negative associations.Gen Z media consumption habits show a higher standard for brand suitability, and associate brands with the content they appear with—whether it be an article, TV show, or YouTube video— if the brand misaligns with the content, Gen Z consumers will be more likely to skip the ad. In other words, putting ads next to pimple-popping videos might damage your brand image.

2. The Rise of Gaming

Gen Z and millennial media consumption habits include a heavy dose of gaming. In 2020, the video game industry’s revenue grew to $57 billion—more than the movie and music industries combined. Tech companies have taken note, with Microsoft set to acquire publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.

For younger generations, gaming is as much a valid entertainment form as movies, television, music, and social media. Deloitte’s digital media trend survey suggests that both millennials and Generation Z spend an average of 11 hours per week playing video games. The survey also suggests that 26% of Gen Zers would rather invest their time playing games than consuming other media.

Deloitte found that games are appealing because they’re easily accessible thanks to smartphones, game consoles, and PCs. They also offer social experiences for players to interact with friends and other users.

3. Subscription Churn

As more studios and tech companies launch their own streaming services, people continue to grow frustrated by content fragmentation. Millennials and Generation Z have little patience for sifting through multiple platforms to find their favorite content. 

Consequently, users are more likely to add and cancel subscriptions based on content availability. In their 2022 digital media trends survey, Deloitte found that on average, 33% of people added and canceled at least one streaming subscription. But when you specifically look at millennials and Gen Z, the average is higher—between 46-49%.

Cost is another factor for subscription churning, and younger generations are particularly sensitive to rising prices. That said, they’re far more willing than older generations to come back to a service after canceling. Platforms can win users back by offering discounted or free ad-supported subscription plans.

Understanding Leads to Greater Rewards

Brands that take time to understand the media consumption habits of millennials and Gen Zers will experience significant growth. When positioned correctly, brands can improve their perception among younger audiences and develop strong brand loyalty.

Refer to Channel Factory’s newest research, The Social Effect, for more on consumer shopping habits in 2022. Contact Channel Factory today and learn how you can target the right audience and leverage your brand.