From the ongoing global pandemic, to social injustice sparking protests around the world, and environmental activism influenced by disasters caused by climate change – this year has brought a huge amount of change, disruption and uncertainty. Explore how the events of 2020 and 2021 are shaping young people’s (ages 13-24) behaviors around video content, brand relationships, plans, beliefs and attitudes for the future from Horowitz’s State of Gen Z study, as well as ViacomCBS’ latest global study across 15 countries, Beyond 2020 Global Youth Voices and Futures.

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Horowitz’s State of Gen Z 2020 provides a comprehensive look at Gen Z’s relationship and behaviors around video content (long form, user generated, eSports, etc.), entertainment, relationship with brands, and what brands needs to consider when looking to engage.

Global Youth Statistics

Media & Entertainment:
  • 61% agree connections will be maintained by online connections in future (highest figures in Asia) (ViacomCBS)
  • 83% expect to be able to watch what I want, where and when (ViacomCBS)
  • While Gen Z is more likely to stream video content to a smartphone, they still prefer a TV set for long-form content. (Horowitz)
  • Streaming: How Gen Zers (ages 13 – 24) watch long-form and short-form video content daily. (Horowitz)

75% | Report streaming video to a smartphone

62% | Report streaming video to a TV set

52% | Report streaming video to a laptop

36% | Report streaming video to a tablet

  • Amazon Watch Party (AWP) shows some interesting differences by demographic, showing there is room in the co-viewing space for different services targeting specific markets. Those age 35-54 (57%) are more likely to use AWP than co-viewers age 16-34 (37%), and men (52%) more likely to use AWP than women (31%). (Hub Entertainment Research)
  • Young co-viewers age 16-24 are less than half as likely to say they use Amazon Watch Party than adults 35-54 (24% vs 57%).  And a third (33%) of 16-24s use Discord, compared with a quarter (26%) of older viewers ages 35-74. (Hub Entertainment Research)

Source: 2021 Evolution of the TV Set Study, Hub Entertainment Research

  • 75% agree that watching TV shows and movies will continue to be an important part of their life (ViacomCBS)
  • Viewing Behaviors: Gen Z audiences prefer more engaging TV set experiences. (Horowitz)

66% occasionally text or direct message on social media about shows they are watching.

60% report watching TV shows simultaneously with peers in different households, virtually discussing the show through messaging, social media, or co-viewing online experiences.

56% are interested in co-viewing experiences like Netflix Party and Hulu Watch Party.

Emotional State:
  • 46% (up from 38%) stressed and only 52% happy (down from 70%) (ViacomCBS)
  • 55% hopeful for a positive future (ViacomCBS)
 Current Issues:
  • 73% impacted by things other than COVID (racial injustice, politics, natural disasters, climate change, etc.) (ViacomCBS)
  • Number one priority for them is environment ahead of economy, systemic racism (ViacomCBS)
  • Areas where hopeful to see change (they have high hopes, but low expectations) include crime, violence, terrorism, wars around the world, and people’s mental health (ViacomCBS)
  • 83% expect brands to take stand against social injustice; 78% agree brands will take more of a stand against social injustice (ViacomCBS)
  • 84% agree both physical and mental health will be very important in future (ViacomCBS)
  • 75% agree mental health will be a problem in society in future; 83% agree there will be openness and acceptance of mental health (but not necessarily solutions) (ViacomCBS)
Individual/Professional Growth and Prosperity:
  • Craving security and stability for themselves – stable job, keep loved ones safe, etc. (ViacomCBS)
  • 80% agree remote work will be the norm (ViacomCBS)
  • 79% believe AI and automation will replace jobs (ViacomCBS)
  • 60% feel they will struggle financially in the future (ViacomCBS)
  • 41% expect to see positive financial change in the next 10 years (ViacomCBS)
Leisure and Travel:
  • 84% agree spending time in person will be important – no substitute for IRL (ViacomCBS)
  • 72% agree they will travel as much as they did pre-COVID in future and that travel influences personal growth and understanding of others around the globe (ViacomCBS)
  • 72% will choose environmentally friendly vacations with 39% saying they won’t fly due to harm on environment (ViacomCBS)

Youth Global Insights Blog

Tap into insights from ViacomCBS’s global executives through this interactive blog on the youth around the world.

Beyond 2020: Young People’s Priorities and Expectations for the Future
According to our new global study Beyond 2020, when 16- to 24-year-olds think about the future they crave stability, believe the environment needs urgent attention, predict that mental health will become more of a priority, and expect social justice to rise in importance.

In a Year Marked by Disruption, Young People Around the World Remain Optimistic
Our new global study, Beyond 2020, looks at how the chaos of this year is affecting 16- to 24-year-olds around the world.

Key Takeaways for Brands and Companies

1 | Is Your Gen Z Strategy Mobile Only?

Not So Fast. Gen Z audiences still watch long form content on the TV with personalized, interactive experiences getting them even more connected. (Horowitz)

2 | Adapt

Brands can drive public change around social issues in the long term (there’s no quick fixes)

  • Apple – carbon neutral by 2030 (ViacomCBS)
  • Brewdog (Scottish brewer) – carbon negative in future, planting trees to off-set carbon output. Message – drink their beer for positive impact on environment (ViacomCBS)
  • Ben & Jerrys – “Justice remix’d” flavor with proceeds going to criminal justice reform to help people inside of prisons (ViacomCBS)
3 | Facilitate

Provide an escape for young to let loose and have fun

  • MTV generation change – short videos to express desires (ViacomCBS)
  • Fortnite party royale – festival-fun, digital event (ViacomCBS)
  • Lady Gaga Fundrager – fundraiser and entertainment tied to album release (ViacomCBS)
4 | Inspire

Help young people explore their interest in travel, in culture, self-discovery (mental health improvements)

  • Window Swap – online site that shows a view of someone else’s window to have a view into their world (ViacomCBS)
  • Trippin – travel guides with celebrities to see other locales (ViacomCBS)
  • Coke – together tastes better campaign, emphasizing the importance of physically being together (ViacomCBS)