Meet Generation Z – They never played Snake on a Nokia

Is Generation Z the next big buzz word in demographic marketing?

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If you are like us, you may find all these labels confusing. What age groups are Millennials? How many Baby Boomer groups were there? What happened to Gen X or Gen Y, are any of them the same…?

There are not hard definitive dividing lines between all these labels, maybe it would be nice to go back to defining age groups by age… But we are not going to be able to change that here.

For this post, lets look at the youngest group 13-17 year olds (Gen Z). What makes this group really unique to all others, it is the very first generation really grew up with Smartphones.

It really has been 10 years since the first Iphone was introduced. That means most of this age group was 3 to 7 years old then.

They barely know what CDs are and most likely never seen a Nokia monochrome screen cell phone with T9 texting capability. Or played the included game with ‘high def’ monotone sounds called Snake.

18-35 year old adults (Millennials) paved the way for mobile commerce adaption, but the 13-17 year old kids (Gen Z) grew up with mobile. According to a study by Google and Ispos U.S., Smartphones reign supreme among all screens used by Gen Z at 78%.

Other screens used by the Gen Z age group are:

  • Laptop 69%
  • Television 68%
  • Gaming Console 62%
  • Tablets 52%


If you are an online retailer selling products to teenagers today, you really have to look at mobile as your primary sales channel. It needs to be fast, optimized, and full of product images designed for a small screen.

Your images need to be clear and offer close ups on mobile screens. You will not sell your products to this age group with fuzzy pictures and irrelevant imagery.

Your payment solutions should integrate with mobile payment gateways such as Apple Pay or Android Pay. The smartphone is truly the new wallet for this demographic.

Gen Z is not going to pull out a prepaid credit card or debit card and start typing numbers into the screen. One touch checkout is a virtual must.


While in all age groups, friend’s recommendations make a product “cool”. Only in the 13-17 year old age group do ads influence buying behavior over social media or personalized products.

Among teens that stated they spent over 3 hours on their smartphone per day, their activity time is very interesting.

  • 71% watch videos online
  • 52% use messaging apps
  • 51% use social networking sites

This means that 13-17 year olds outside influence to purchase are visuals and since the majority of the time is spent watching videos, clearly moving visuals are best.

“When someone your age is doing something in the ad or it pertains more to you personally, those strike me.”

“When you buy stuff online, you obviously look for pictures. You get more of a feel for something. Most times, I wouldn’t buy something if there wasn’t a picture.”

In conclusion, we believe that you need to read the full report. We summarized the highlights in our post but we strongly suggest you go to the source link below and download all the information.

Even if you are not selling to Gen Z today, this is the future of eCommerce. Amazon is paying attention, eBay is paying attention, you need to pay attention.

Postscript: Nowhere in the report did we see anything that Generation Z is using their Smartphone to actually make calls. Is this function still necessary for them? 😉

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