The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted priorities and rewired behavioral patterns for many individuals in the past few months. These changes, however, are most pronounced among Gen Z (13-24-years old individuals) who have taken this health crisis in their stride and quickly adapted to their new lives — swapped classrooms with screen time, dealt with an uncertain exam calendar, and given up on night outs or evenings with friends. Many of them also went out bravely into a barren job market this year.
A recent study conducted by Ipsos, a multinational market research company, along with Isobar, the digital agency of Dentsu Aegis Network reveals how this pandemic made Gen Z shuffle their list of priorities and put their health and family ties above money or career in these trying times.
Generation Z, for those of you who do not know, includes those individuals who were born between 1995-2015. They are different and distinctive in their behavioral manifestation from millennials. In fact, the top trend that emerged from the Ipsos-Isobar study #MeetTheZ show that they have been pragmatic, tech-savvy, clear-headed, and confident during this crisis situation.
Gopa Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Isobar India said that this formed the genesis of doing this survey: “We felt Gen Z was different and was being fraudulently being clubbed with millennials and we felt it was gross injustice to them. Marketers were not addressing this cohort rightly.”
According to the #MeetTheZ post-COVID-19 survey, the top five priorities (in order of importance) for Gen Z prior to the pandemic were to have a successful career, make a lot of money, stay fit and healthy, become famous, and spend quality time with the family. However, during the pandemic, Gen Z was quick to reorganize the order. The revised list of their top five priorities now has health and fitness at the top, followed closely by quality time with family. A successful career and making money have clearly taken a backseat, although it is still in their list of top five priorities, along with travel.
The study also reveals that even though there is no panic among the Gen Z about the pandemic, there is a certain degree of worry about how the future would play out. According to the research, 55 per cent fear losing a year because of delays in their examinations while 30 per cent are anxious about the diminishing prospects of finding a well-paid job. 20 per cent of the Gen Z interviewees said that they are perturbed about finding a job in their area of expertise and 18 per cent were re-evaluating choices of higher education which would allow them to have a better career option. 14 per cent confessed that they were fearful of certain geographical areas now and re-evaluating their choice of colleges.
Apart from family and fitness, Gen Z is also skilling up or reskilling. “The activities of Gen Z during lockdown further reinforces the maturity and sense of purpose of this cohort. They are trendsetters and hold their own,” commented Vivek Gupta, the managing director of (Mumbai market) Ipsos India.
“COVID19 has been unprecedented and disruptive. Long periods of lockdowns and scare have put families in a huddle and with the pandemic far from over and with far-reaching implications, GenZ is showing a renewed focus on what matters most.” He added.
The top activity of Gen Z during this pandemic, therefore, is skill development. 73 percent engaged in skill development during this period while 56 percent enjoyed watching TV, 52 percent spent their time gaming, while 44 percent was engaged on social media. 39 percent spent their time viewing OTT and 30 percent pursued their hobbies.
The Generation Z study was conducted through interviews of 13-24-year-olds of both gender from SEC A & B households, across eight big Indian cities namely Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Vijayawada, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and Indore. The interviews which were reportedly extensive included 2484 face-to-face interviews, 1924 online self-administered interviews, 34 consumer immersions, 20 online shadowing, and 4 expert interviews. A booster sample of 700 interviews Data were weighted by population. This study was done as an update to the study done earlier in March 2020, to capture shifts (if any) in the aspirations and motivations of Gen Z during the pandemic.
In a press release, Gopa Kumar said, “…We felt it was important to capture changes (if any) that Gen Z would be undergoing. Some of the key elements were captured in the booster study to provide marketers, advertising and media professionals an updated, relevant and true picture of Gen Z.”