A breakdown of Generation Z and their media habits.

The migration of younger generations toward online video has been underway for years. But the extent of this shift, revealed in a poll by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research unit, is still surprising.

Considering leisure activities during a typical week, our sample of 12- to 19-year-olds said they were most likely to watch YouTube videos (72%), followed by watching television at home (69%) and playing electronic games (61%). A typical week was far less likely to include non-screen-based activities such as playing sports (39%), attending club meetings (15%), or attending music concerts (11%).


YouTube holds particular appeal for generation Z. Our research found that 70% of this cohort watches at least 2 hours of YouTube content per day. Even more striking, 36% of our survey respondents watch four or more hours of YouTube content daily, compared to 34% who spend four or more hours watching television. Those watching four or more hours of YouTube were slightly more common in our US sample (41%) than in our UK sample (30%).

YouTube compares favorably not just with traditional media, but also with social media. YouTube and Facebook led social networks in popularity, with 71% of our sample belonging to each. Instagram was a distant third at 51%. Among US respondents, YouTube even had a substantial lead over Facebook, with 75% and 68% of our sample belonging to each network, respectively. Our US sample also chose YouTube as their favorite social network (24%), over Facebook (19%) and Instagram (17%).

Our full generation Z report describes the rise of YouTube stars such as Zoella, Alfie Deyes and Connor Franta as the new icons for generation Z, eclipsing traditional celebrities. This data shows the sheer amount of screen time that this generation spends with such figures, and suggests the corresponding size of the engagement opportunity for brands.

Click here for the executive summary of our report on generation Z, and here to purchase a copy of the full 79-page report.

Image credit: Angela Moore