UserTesting Survey Investigates Online Activities of Baby Boomers and Gen Zers

Generational Comparisons From the U.S., UK, and APAC Regions Reveal More Similarities Than Differences in Online Habits and Shopping Focuses

A recent study, conducted by UserTesting, a leading provider of on-demand Human Insights, compared some generational differences and similarities of online activities between Baby Boomers and Gen Zers, across the U.S., the UK, and some Asia Pacific* countries.

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Online Much?

In the U.S., the study found that the screen time spent by Baby Boomers compared to Gen Zers wasn’t that different; fifty percent of Baby Boomers spend an average of 3-4 hours online daily while 50 percent of Gen Zers spend an average of 5-6 hours online daily.

The largest disparity was found when comparing the online time of two groups in the UK and APAC. Sixty percent of Gen Zers in APAC stated they spend 9 hours or more online every day, while 60 percent of Gen Zers in the UK claimed an average of 7-8 hours. For the Baby Boomers in the APAC region, 30 percent spend 5-6 hours online, and 20 percent noted they spend more than 10 hours online, while in the UK, 60 percent of Baby Boomers spend only 1-4 hours per day online.

Watch this video to hear respondents share their thoughts on how much time they spend online.

Mobile and Shopping Apps

While popular before the pandemic, usage of mobile delivery and shopping apps accelerated when the shutdowns occurred. Usage of apps is where a big difference occurs; 65 percent of consumers in the UK and APAC, regardless of generation, use these apps on a weekly basis, compared to 60 percent of Gen Zers in the U.S. who use these apps on a daily basis. Similar to their international counterparts, 60 percent of Baby Boomers in the U.S. use them on a weekly basis as well. So what are some of the most used apps? Amazon was the most referenced app across the U.S., UK, and APAC. Other popular choices across all three regions for Baby Boomers and Gen Zers included ASOS, eBay, Etsy, Flipkart, Grubhub, Nike, Postmates, and Uber Eats to name a few.

The buying journey for big ticket items appears to begin with online research no matter where shoppers are located, with a majority of both Baby Boomers and Gen Zers starting with online research versus going to a physical store/location.

Watch this video to hear respondents share their thoughts on how often they use online mobile apps for shopping and delivery.

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What Really Matters?

When asked what both generational groups prioritized in a brand, a majority of Baby Boomers and Gen Zers selected “quality” as their highest priority in a brand. The U.S. Gen Zers were the only outliers as they were evenly split (30 percent each) between reputation, price, and quality. Both Baby Boomers and Gen Zers from each global region had price as the second most popular choice when it came to what they prioritize in a brand.

When asked which brand they were most loyal to, there was some crossover between the two generations. Brands such as Amazon and Apple were frequently referenced and noted for reliable service and high-quality products respectively. Some respondents from both generational groups also noted that they try to make the most of their dollars by focusing on the best price and deals at that moment, regardless of the brand.

Watch this video to hear respondents share their thoughts on what matters when purchasing products, whether it’s quality, price, or other reasons.

Methodology*

The survey was conducted in June with 10 men and 10 women per age group, per region that participated in the video think-aloud survey. Participants that qualified for Baby Boomers were ages 57-75, and Gen Zers were 18-24, living in the U.S., the UK, Australia, India and Singapore.

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