Gen Zers feel more like themselves online than offline, according to The New Consumer. To many that statistic will feel very weird. To many others, it will feel completely right.
There is not a huge difference between how Gen Zers feel online and offline, nor among Millennials. In the case of Gen Z, it 45% vs 40%. In the case of Millennials it is almost even at 43% vs 44%, so a tiny majority still feel more like themselves offline.
Gen X and Baby Boomers feel very much more like themselves offline than on.
It would be easy to pontificate on why Gen Zers feel better (bigger, stronger, safer) online but it clarifies (for the older journalist anyway) why huge brands and tech companies are throwing so much money at virtual projects – from VR environments and headsets, through to the ‘next internet’ – the Metaverse (or Metaverses).
Whatever the reasons, the money will follow the consumer, and if Gen Zers feel more empowered online, then everyone will work on creating virtual environments to feed that need.
One clear sign that this is the direction of travel is when a senior research house like Wunderman Thompson kicks off a new year with a newsletter called ‘The Metaverse Monthly,’ with articles entitled ‘Governing in the Metaverse,’ ‘Relationships in the Metaverse’ and a spotlight on how our APAC region is getting on.
Another clear sign is that young men, at least in the US, are not having sex. 27% of under 30s say that they have not yet had a sexual relationship with a female partner. The world and everything in it is going online.
Having spent the last two decades simply becoming digital, every tech entity, from a bank to telco, tech company to Government will need to rethink its strategy. Again.
What Gen Zers feel (and presumably the generation after that will feel even more strongly) will describe the consumer trends, investment strategies and branding issues for the next decade, probably more. After all, the oldest Gen Zers are already in their mid-twenties and fast approaching the peak of their spending power.
The problem is that the Metaverse (Mr Zuckerberg’s immersive consumer version), which all of this points strongly towards, is still many years away. In fact right now we haven’t even reached the peak of Mount Stupid.