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Gen Z: Born into Digital, Gamers by Choice

Posted Oct 6, 2020

Generation Z, or “Gen Z,” is mostly known for its global connectedness, having been born into the technology era and being entrenched in the digital world since the moment they became aware. They are ever-present online, from messaging to social networks, and their smartphone is an extension of themselves in a way that previous generations will never match. 

The youngest of this generation is graduating from high school around this time, and while technically an adult, many still think of them as the teens and tweens they were just a few years ago, responsible for the explosion of Tik Tok and “cancel culture.” But as a group, they are influential not just in their videos and tweets, but in their spending. 

Gen Z represents about $100 billion in spending power as a group, and as they continue to enter the workforce, their disposable income will only increase. 

Gen Z is a distinct group, not just a younger version of a Millennial. Perhaps because the term “Millennial” came into play while many of the group were still in their twenties, marketers have often made the mistake of grouping the two together. But there are distinct differences that we discovered while creating our Modern Mobile Gamer Report, in partnership with DISQO. The Gen Z: Born into Digital, Gamers by Choice report focuses on the generation’s interest in mobile gaming and what sets them apart from other age groups.

Highlights of the Study

  • Most of Gen Z doesn’t identify as gamers. — Only 33% of Gen Z users consider themselves “gamers” as oppose to 40% of Millennials. This discrepancy is possibly because Gen Z consumers do not think that playing mobile games, no matter how frequently or how long, makes them a “gamer.” Mobile games are simply a part of their digital lifestyle, an app experience they seamlessly switch to and from other apps, either other games or those in categories like social, news, or utilities. 
  • Multi-tasking is the norm. — Similar to Millennials, Gen Z are multitaskers. The majority (57.8%) said they are either “always” or “often” multitasking while playing mobile games, with just 8.6% saying they never multitask.
  • More games and longer session times. — Gen Z’ers are truly mobile game consumers: They have more games on their phones than any other age group, and they are downloading new games constantly. 
  • Games are for entertainment, relaxation, and to fight boredom. — Gen Z over indexes for these reasons to play mobile games, and particularly for boredom. There was a decline with age, so the older people get, the less likely they are to play due to boredom. 

About the Study
The survey was developed by AdColony and DISQO and distributed online to a nationally representative sample of DISQO Audience members within the United States via the Survey Junkie platform, which is wholly owned by DISQO. The survey was taken on both desktop and mobile devices, garnering a total of 1,208 responses over a fourteen-day period in Q2 of 2020. For this Gen Z analysis, we exclusively focused on the responses from respondents falling with that age range.

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