How many of us are willing to trade some of our personal data for the perfect Spotify playlist or for customised Netflix movie suggestions? How many people are happy to hand over their credit card details and personal address to Uber in exchange for a quicker and cheaper ride instead of jumping in a taxi that doesn’t retain your data?
The answer is…most of us.
We’re at a pinnacle point in the data story as brands like Google, Netflix, Spotify and Uber pave the way for a new era of trading data in exchange for more personalised experiences online and in the real world.
Initially, there was reluctance from consumers to share their personal information with brands. Think about the confusion felt when targeted ads started popping up online or the outrage caused after the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Over the years, people have become more and more willing to give away their personal data if it means that their digital experiences are more targeted towards their needs and interests, as shown through brands like Google Maps, Tinder and Fitbit.
Generation Z embodies a fundamental divide with all other generations and that is they’ve never lived in a non-digital world. Gen Z’s attitudes towards technology are polarising with older generations like Baby Boomers and Generation X, giving us a sneak peek into the future of digital experiences and data monopoly. Gen Z’ers are starting to enter the workforce (with the eldest of the generation turning 23 this year). They’re now voting, drinking, working, paying taxes and making informed decisions on what brands and services with which to engage.
This dramatic shift in consumer attitudes is most apparent when looking closely at Generation Z, defined as those born between 1996 to 2010.
A study conducted by The Centre for Generational Kinetics and commissioned by WP Engine revealed that Gen Z’ers are less concerned with giving away their personal data online than any other generation. Gen Z has grown up in a hyper-personalised world of targeted advertisements and social platforms with 45% willing to trade their privacy for more personalised experiences and 44% not visiting a website if it doesn’t anticipate what they need, like or want.
Gen Z is the most internet-dependent generation, with 55% admitting that they’re unable to go more than four hours without internet access, while 16% of Baby Boomers can go a week or more.
Gen Z are equipped with a powerful tech-centric view of the future, for example Gen Z not only expects 24/7 digital access but they predict that everything in their lives will be connected to the internet within five years, including clocks, refrigerators, vacuums, dishwashers and other home appliances. When thinking about the ways websites will function in the next five years, 86% of Gen Z believe that with biometrics (i.e. fingerprint / face recognition and voice / speech recognition), internet authentication will be conducted without a keyboard.
Furthermore, the study shows that Generation Z embraced Virtual Assistance and Artificial Intelligence with 67% believing that everyone will have their own personalised virtual digital assistant (Siri, Alexa, etc.) in the future, while 81% believe all software and online experiences will have digital learning and AI capabilities.
Gen Z is already making an impact on the way we build our digital experiences. Whilst older generations like Baby Boomers and Millennials continue to position the internet as bimodal, Gen Z is the first generation to intrinsically combine the digital and physical worlds. From now on, the digital experience will be synonymous with human experience.
Author: Mark Randall, Country Manager ANZ, WP Engine