What Publishers Need to Understand about Gen Z

Thanks to social and behavioral researchers, we know a lot about Generation Z (aka Gen Z, iGen or Centennials.). Born between 1995 and 2015, this is the first generation to be raised on the internet and social media, and the oldest of them are poised to finish college this year and enter the corporate workforce as the first fully digital generation in the office.

They are also expected to be the larger consumer population group by 2026, edging out the Millennial at 82 million strong.

Image source: Business Insider

Clearly, understanding this generation is vital for anyone working in media and publishing. But what do we know about them?

“Gen Z lives in a world fueled by media and infused with content,” notes this report title Gen Z: The Culture of Content Consumption, from VICE Media in partnership with Ontario Creates. “[Content] is vital to who they are and who they will become.

The content they prefer should be original (75% say this is important); representative of cultural diversity (1 in 2 believe the content industry hasn’t caught up with the audience in this aspect); and unique. At the same time, the brands behind the content must hold themselves to the higher standards Gen Z insists on to gain their trust.

Image source: OntarioCreates.ca

They embody the multi-channel consumer experience. While they have a massive amount of options to choose from, 58% read books weekly and 25% of them report reading magazines every week.

Image source: OntarioCreates.ca

When it comes time to read, Gen Z is clear: They want their magazines in print, especially for long-form content.

“Despite being digital natives, there is a significant preference for consuming the written word in print. 7 in 10 Gen Z say they prefer physical books over digital ones,” the report notes. “For shorter reads, they are more open to the digital version with 1 in 2 preferring a physical magazine over a digital copy.”

Image source: OntarioCreates.ca

The takeaway for all this? When publishing for Generation Z, understand that discovery and engagement takes place across devices, but print is too important to ignore.

Many brands are marketing to five generations at once these days, all with different expectations and different preferences. It’s great to know that for the magazine industry, print continues to engage this next generation of buyers.