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3 Stats On Social Media Taking Over Gen Z’s Entertainment Consumption

Apr 07 2021

We know Gen Z spends a lot of time on social media, and there’s more evidence than ever that it’s cannibalizing their other entertainment viewing…


We’ve told you that Gen Z is spending more time on social media than Millennials—according to their own self-estimates, the younger generation is spending almost 4.5 hours a day on social media, while Millennials estimate they spend an average of around 3.8 hours. We’ve also said that the two generations have different entertainment habits, from the platforms they’re watching on to the devices they’re using to access content. But as time goes on, it’s becoming clear that Gen Z’s social media habits are seriously impacting their viewing on other sources. Our most recent media consumption behavioral report shows that social is beginning to dominate their entertainment consumption:

They’re more likely to have watched social media videos in the last week than TV series.

When we ask young consumers what types of content they’ve watched in the last week, 70% of Gen Zs say social media videos. That’s an increase from 66% who reported watching social media videos in the last week back in June 2020. This means that for this group, social media video viewing now eclipses TV series viewing, with 66% reporting that they watched TV series in the last week. It’s no wonder smartphones are by far the top device they’re watching video content on weekly. Gen Z males seem to be especially driving this behavior, with 75% reporting that they watched social media videos in the last week compared to 62% who watched TV series—among Gen Z females, social media video viewing is high (65%) but TV series still beats it out (71%). For the record, Millennials are still more likely to say they’ve watched TV series (69%) and movies (70%) in the last week than social media videos (58%).

Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are in their top 10 sources for video content—but cable isn’t.

Our media consumption monitor report also asks young consumers the services that they are using to watch content weekly or more, and our data shows that after Netflix and YouTube, three social media platforms fill up the top five sources that Gen Z’s entertainment is coming from. Over half (51%) report that they watch video content on Instagram weekly, 48% report watching content on TikTok weekly, and 37% on Snapchat. This means that this generation is more likely to be watching content on social platforms than on major streaming services like Disney+ and Hulu. Meanwhile, just 15% report watching cable weekly or more. Again, Gen Z males are even more likely to be watching their entertainment on social. In fact, Gen Z females are watching some streaming platforms more than their male peers or even Millennials: Disney+ is actually in Gen Z females’ top three services, with 56% saying they watch it weekly.

The majority are using social media while they’re watching TV.

Of course, social media isn’t just stealing their time away from the TV screen, it’s also distracting them even when they have TV on. According to our social media behavior report, over half (57%) of Gen Z use social media while they’re watching TV. The fragmented attention is real. That’s compared to 51% of Millennials who say the same, so in case you were wondering if older consumers were more engaged viewers, they are but barely. Here, it’s Gen Z females who are most likely to be dual-screening, with 60% saying they use social media while they’re watching TV, compared to 55% of Gen Z males.

YPulse Business users can access the full media consumption behavioral report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse Business account? Find out more here.

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