How Gen Z use mobile

How Gen Z use mobile

Gen Z (aged between 7 and 22) make up 32% of the global population and account for an estimated $200bn a year...

Gen Z (aged between 7 and 22) make up 32% of the global population and account for an estimated $200bn a year in spending power; in addition to influencing $3 trillion spent by their parents.


They are the first generation to grow up with access to the internet and are practically born tech-savvy. We looked into how this generation uses mobile, and interestingly how their mobile-use differs from previous generations…

Gen Z and Millennials have the highest rate of mobile ownership of any age group at 95%. Interestingly, mobile ownership decreases with age.


This generation spends a large proportion of their time online via mobile, averaging 3.5 hours a day, with female mobile users dedicating almost 4 hours. Gen Z describes their mobile use as ‘almost constant’.


Gen Z has a shorter attention span than other age groups, which is why they switch between multiple digital platforms for different purposes and have a habit of second screening.

79% of people in the UK use their mobile while watching TV. Global statistics show that 72% of those aged 14–34 second screen, compared to 42% of those aged 25-55+. Similarly to mobile ownership, mobile second screening habits tend to reduce with age.


Gen Z’s short attention span might mean capturing their attention is trickier. However, when their interest is peaked, they tend to ‘binge’ absorbing as much information as possible.

Gen Z spends 20% more time using apps than those aged 25+. They also check their favourite apps, 30% more than other generations.


Compared to the rest of the population, Gen Z tends to use mobile predominantly for socialising, entertainment and creative pursuits. Older generations still use their mobile heavily for social purposes but tend to use organisational functions more such as banking, news and weather apps.


Gen Z prefers messaging apps over texting, they dart between WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Each platform provides them with a different way of creating and sharing content, and they use them in different ways. WhatsApp is predominantly a group and private chat app. Snapchat is where Gen Z share short video clips of their day and fun, filtered selfies with friends. Instagram is more of an open sharing platform where Gen Z share photos and stories with other users, not just friends. Interestingly, unlike Millennials, who use social media to project a perfected image, Gen Z is more interested in authenticity and being ‘in-the-moment’. Facebook is declining in popularity with younger age groups, but Gen Z still uses it for ‘stalking’ and for communicating with study/sports groups.


Video content is the preferred media format for Gen Z with 71% of teens saying they watch videos for over 3 hours every day.


Gen Z isn’t the first generation to heavily use mobile, in fact, 78% of people say they couldn’t live without their mobile. Older generations tend to use mobile devices like a digital toolkit for everyday life, whereas Gen Z has a more emotional connection to their phones. It’s where the majority of their social interactions and media consumption happens. According to a YouGov study, 45% of 18-24-year-olds would feel ‘weird’ without their phones for a day and almost 20% would feel disconnected from their online identity.