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The Kids Are Alright

The CTA presents its research on Gen Z and how they interact with technology.

The Consumer Technology Association recently released a survey it had conducted concerning Gen Z and their technology habits. Gen Z, which the report puts between 11 and 26 years old, is currently the second largest population group (69.7 M), lagging slightly behind Millennials (70.7 M). As they move firmly into adulthood over the next 10 years, Gen Z will have a big impact on our businesses, and I thought the survey had some interesting — and hopeful — findings that I will share here.

Gen Z and technology
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The main takeaway for me from this survey is that Gen Z has the best relationship with technology above all other generations. They grew up with it, they get how it works, and, most importantly, they value it. To quote the CTA’s survey presentation: “For Gen Z, technology is more essential to their daily lives, it makes them feel good, and it’s an outlet for self-expression.”

They are also early adopters of new technologies and take pride in both having something first and recommending it to others. This ties in with social media being a key source of technology information for them.

Unsurprisingly, personal electronics are a big deal for Gen Z — namely smartphones, laptops, and earbuds. What was surprising to me, however, was how much they value quality in their products. The majority of Gen Z survey respondents said they would be willing to spend more for a higher-quality product. That goes for content as well — their main concerns in selecting a streaming service are the quality of the content and ease of use.

Gen Z also has an appetite for subscription services, with the average person having nine platforms, compared to eight for Millennials, six for Gen X, and four for Boomers.

Of course, like Millennials and every other generation before them, Gen Z’s tastes, interests, and behaviors will continue to evolve as they get older and gather more life experiences. But I think this current baseline bodes well for the custom installation industry.

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Having a knowledge and respect for technology is a great way for future clients to start off. The fact that they can work a smartphone like nobody’s business will only help with their use of home control systems, whether they want touchpanels or are comfortable using multiple apps. We fight the multiple-app system now, but who knows what will happen when you get a generation that finds app-switching to be old hat and possibly even comforting.

The desire for quality, even at this young age, is another remarkable attribute. Let’s hope this one continues because if they think Apple AirPods are the ultimate in sound, just wait until they get their first Meridian speaker demo! And quality in streaming services? Better stock up on Kaleidescape movie servers.

Finally, unflinching at signing up for subscription services will make your selling service plans that much easier — and even expected.

Look, I know I tend to sit on the optimistic side of the fence, and I am sure there will be challenges in reaching and converting all those tech-comfortable, value-seeking young adults into paying customers, but all those attributes indicate a good place to start from.

Plus, it also sounds like Gen Z would make great employees, as well as clients.