Social media e generazioni a confronto

How the Coronavirus Outbreak is Influencing Social Media Consumption according to Generation

The coronavirus outbreak and the following lockdown have drastically influenced everyone’s routine and habits. Morning traffic and the alarm clock in the morning seem a distant memory for those who are working from home, who just  need to turn on their laptop to “be” in their office.

The time spent with friends has also changed as well. Due to the impossibility to leave the house, the new meeting point is online through Instagram lives and video calls.

The coronavirus emergency and the impossibility to go out have contributed to the recent increase of the time spent online. Between the 16th and the 22nd of March, the average time spent online was +61% more than the weeks before the virus outbreak.

Now more than ever, social media have become the only means through which we can keep in touch with the rest of the world. Not by chance, among the most famous social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, the live’s views have increased as well as the messaging services, which have registered +1000% on group calls.

Throughout the lockdown, the increasing consumption of online content, especially among Generation Z and the Millennials, has led to a change in the concept of entertainment.

There has been an increase in the time that all the generations spend online. Above all, they spend their time online by checking news about the virus. Generation X results as the most concerned among the other generations in keeping up to date.

However, the big question stays the same, how has the media consumption changed from the beginning of the lockdown? Statistics show that Generation Z spends more time on messaging services (62%), Millennials on online streaming (58%), Generation X with their family (52%) and Baby Boomers on TV (51%). Let’s analyze the relationship between the different generations and the most used social media since the beginning of the emergency.

Generation Z and Millennials

Generation Z and Millennials reflect the age range of 16-37 and because  they include the people who are most skilled in technology, they are also the two generations who have adapted better to the coronavirus effects and new habits

Indeed, the lockdown has not been able to prevent young adults from sharing their life moments or group outings. The secret is to be able to reinvent oneself and exploit technology to our own advantage. Video calls and Instagram lives have given us the possibility to spend the weekend with our friends directly from our sofa. It is not surprising that in the first week of lockdown, Houseparty, ZOOM and Skype have been among the most downloaded apps from Android and IOS. Some people use these apps to follow their school lessons, others to celebrate someone’s birthday; then there are those who cannot give up the good old habits of having a glass of wine with their friend  so they have to “meet” virtually before dinner time. It is enough to think that the term “aperitivo/aperitivi” together with “Coronavirus” has been cited in 140,700 messages, with a total engagement of 2,6 million interactions. Click To Tweet 

Among the most used social media platforms, Instagram is still one of the most popular channels for Generation Z and Millennials. The “Jova House Party”, Chiara Ferragni and Fedezs balcony concerts, and Jo Squillo’s disco are just a few examples of Instagram lives popularity. 

There are thousands of young people that daily follow the live streaming events organized on Instagram. However, it is not all about entertainment: zumba’s, pilates’, and yoga’s lessons have become really popular on Instagram. The usage rate of this functionality has increased so dramatically since the beginning of the lockdown that in the United States alone it  registered a growth of 70%.

The lockdown has also led to an increase in the time that Millennials and Generation Z spend for uploading and consuming online content on social media platforms, such as Youtube and TikTok. Among the most consumed content by these two generations are the ones about how to handle smart working and remote learning, suggestions on how to keep in shape, and recipes for cooking.

However, by comparing these two generations, it is possible to note that what differs is their consumption patterns of online streaming. While Millennials choose streaming services, such as Netflix, HBO, and the new Disney+, Generation Z still prefers Youtube. This difference could be driven by the fact that Millennials have possibly paid employment and, as a consequence, they are more likely to subscribe to  more than one paid service at the same time. Indeed, 64% of Millennials have subscribed to two or four online streaming services at the same time.

Gez Z and the Most Used Social Media During the LockDown

Generation Z, which refers to the age range of 16-23, has grown up with Youtube, created in 2005. This generation uses this platform as a means of entertainment and information, as 80% of teenagers affirms. For example, since the beginning of the lockdown, Generation Z has been using Youtube as an educational tool. The “Study with me” videos, in which the creators study in silence or give suggestions on how to adapt to remote learning, have become really popular since the beginning of the lockdown. Another well-liked trend on Youtube is the new campaign #conme (#withme), in which the creators offer entertainment on a wide range of topics. 

It is impossible to talk about Generation Z without citing TikTok, the well-known social media that focuses on including as much creativity as possible in 1-minute video. In the last year, TikTok has acquired so much popularity that it has become one of the most downloaded apps. TikTok’s influencers, aka “the Tiktokers”, have become as famous as the well-known Instagrammers and Youtubers. TikTok’s popularity among Generation Z is mainly driven by the fact that this category prefers short and creative videos. It is estimated that by 2022, online videos will represent more than 82% of all the consumers’ generated traffic.

Generation X and Baby Boomers

Even for what concerns Generation X and Baby Boomers, the lockdown has led to an increase in the time spent online. These two categories include people in the age range of 38-64 and, therefore, the ones who did not grow up in the digital age.

Even though Generation X and Baby Boomers prefer to spend their time with activities that do not require the sole use of the Internet, they still have increased their daily average of time spent online. However, most of their online consumption aims to keep up to date on the coronavirus emergency. 

Generation X and Baby Boomers are the two categories more tied to traditional media. Therefore, it is not surprising that these two generations are the ones that are consuming more television. From the beginning of the emergency, there has been a 30% increase  of the total audience watching television. On average, TV’s consumption has increased by 70 minutes per person. Because of the stop of some live shows and sporting events, the entertainment and media  industries  are the ones that are benefiting the most from the situation. However, in Italy, the most followed events during the lockdown are the institutional moments, among which the President of the Council’s press reviews and the Pope’s religious functions, such as the Urbi et Orbi and the Via Crucis.

How has Coronavirus pool together  the Different Generations?

The coronavirus emergency has pushed Generation Z and Millennials to spend more time online so that they can fill the lack of their offline life. For what concerns Generation X and Baby Boomers, the time they spend online is less in comparison to the other generations since they still prefer offline activities and traditional media. 

Regardless of the type of contents they consume and their different ages, all generations share the same constant: the increase of time they spend online during the coronavirus emergency. Keeping in mind this consideration, how should brands adapt to it? Which are the best strategies to adopt? Find it out in our article 10 Tips to Adapt your Social Media Communication to Covid-19.



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