Gen Z – Will the Smartphone Generation Change the Way We Work

Apr 01, 2019
By: Marissa Camilli

App developers looking for total market domination should forget all about Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Sure, these might be huge and potentially lucrative audiences but the only market that is completely absorbed with their smartphones is Generation Z – and they are about to change everything.

Who Are Generation Z?

Generation Z (the demographic group that followed the much-maligned millennial), were born around the turn of the century and were technologically weaned on smartphones at the expense of more cumbersome laptop and desktop devices. For them, the Internet and the digital services they access are primarily delivered via a mobile device and they haven’t known anything different.

100% Market Penetration

Smartphone ownership amongst Generation Z is off the scale. In the US, it is estimated that 96 percent of Internet users in the US between the ages of 16 and 20 own a smartphone. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the US is actually lagging behind the rest of the world with 98 percent of their counterparts in Europe, Latin America, and the Asian Pacific, and a staggering 99 percent of the same demographic in the Middle East and Africa access digital services via their smartphone.

And Generation Z certainly knows how to use their smartphones, with the average user glued to their device for more than four hours every day.

What’s a Laptop?

While the laptop still has some clout in more mature digital markets, a third of Gen Z Internet users in the United States still prefer to access the web in a less mobile fashion, its influence in emerging markets is on the wane (if it ever existed). In APAC and MEA regions, 80 percent of Generation Z cites their smartphone as their primary device for accessing the Internet and online services.

When 80 percent of Internet users have no connection (physically or emotionally) to a traditional computer – change is inevitable.

Let’s face facts, if by the time you have reached the age of 20, you have managed to manage your digital life on a smartphone screen, the (in)convenience of a bulky laptop becomes a very difficult proposition to sell. As mobile devices become more powerful, screen size increases and app developers re-imagine the old way of doing things to suit the smartphone environment – why would anyone ever want to go back to using a piece of technology that needs its own bag to carry it around or is actually tethered to a desk? 

Further Reading: Why the Foldable Smartphone Isn’t a Gimmick.   

Mobile First Creativity

For those of us who are slightly longer in the tooth, Gen Z’s apparent addiction to their mobile devices might seema little unusual (it may even appear to be a complete waste of time) but when you take the time to study what they are actually doing, you’ll see the generational divide isn’t so wide.

They are communicating with their friends and wider social networks, they are engaging with businesses and other organization, they are being entertained, and they are being creative. The only thing that is different from the old way of doing things is the interface by which they are connecting and engaging with the world.

A New Way of Working

It’s all too easy to dismiss the younger generation (every generation has done it) but Generation Z will, we believe, completely change the shape of the way we do business in the future – and the smartphone (and associated devices) will be at the heart of this change.  The good news for Gen Z (and the bad news for everyone else) is it will be the older generation that has to catch up.

Further Reading: The Smartphone: The Millennial in Your Pocket.

As Generation Z enters the workforce, they will take their smartphone habits with them. Why should they be hunched up over a desk, staring at a device that looks like it should be in a museum when they can lounge on a sofa or stand-up at communal poseur table?

Expect a big boom in the office furniture industry as organizations completely reshape their offices of the future around the needs of the Generation Z workforce. We can expect office spaces to foster a more collaborative, creative environment – where the smartphone brings everyone and everything together.

But what about all those other jobs that you just cannot do on a smartphone you might ask?

Sure there will be one or two larger screens dotted around the place – but it’s not just Generation Z who will be disrupting your workplace, AI might just do away with many of those laborious, computer jobs we love to hate.

Will the spreadsheet still rule the roost in tomorrow’s game of office politics – I hope not. 

Productivity Apps

In the not too distant future, expect the market to be flooded with a range of disruptive productivity apps to serve the changing market.

Will this mean the end of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and all those other everyday Office tools that we take for granted in today’s computer-led office environment. Perhaps not immediately but change is coming and the most dangerous thing anyone in business can say is “We’ve always done it this way.”

The future belongs to Generation Z and those of us who are Generation Z at heart.

The next big question is: What comes after Z?

Pre-load Your Productivity App for Generation Z

Pre-loading your productivity app to specific smartphone devices, networks or SIM cards, is the best way to ensure Generation Z engage with your service straight out of the box.

Talk to a pre-loading expert at Digital Turbine today about how we can help you become part of the Generation Z workplace revolution.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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