The past week or so has seen a rash of news articles, hot takes, and inevitable backlash around the phrase “Ok boomer,” which is the newest glib retort of younger generations aimed at out-of-touch older people.
Much of the recent “Ok boomer” literature treats the phrase as a manifestation of collective grievances from Gen Z and millennials—lumping the two cohorts together as if they are a single generation—so it’s rather fascinating that a new report from research firm Morning Consult highlights some of the ways in which these two age groups differ. And they do differ!
“The Influencer Report,” released today, examines the disparate habits of younger consumers—how they interact with brands, whom they choose to follow online, what prompts them to make purchasing decisions, etc. It’s based on 2,000 survey interviews with consumers age 13-38, and while it’s pitched as a window into the minds of those Mysterious Youngs, it also shows that millennials and Gen Z aren’t the monolithic mega-cohort many marketers assume them to be.
Let’s take social media habits as an example. As the report points out, 13- to 16-year-olds are now as likely to use TikTok—the Chinese-owned short-form video platform—as Facebook or Twitter. Almost half of survey respondents in this age range are on TikTok and probably making their very own “Ok boomer” videos as we speak.
But that percentage drops off precipitously as you move up the Gen Z/millennial age range. By the time you get to 22- to 26-year-olds, only about 15% are using TikTok. For older millennials in the 30-something range, just 10% are TikTok adopters. In fact, the oldest millennials surveyed (32-38) were far more likely to use entrenched social media behemoths: YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram in that order.
The report also reveals some notable behavioral differences. Millennials, for instance, are far more likely than Gen Z to trust reviews from news outlets and review websites when considering advice about brands: 78% versus 65%, according to the report. They’re also more likely to trust Amazon product reviews: 80% versus 69%.
Of course, it’s not just what people do that separates the generations; it’s who they care about. When asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of YouTube star Shane Dawson, for instance, more than a third of younger Gen Z members said they viewed him somewhat or very favorably.
As for older millennials, 60% didn’t even know who Shane Dawson is. Um, okay.
Morning Consult’s “The Influencer Report” is out now. You can download the full report here.