Based on the data processed by Katadata on the 2020 census, the biggest age group in Indonesia are those born between 1995-2015 or those aged 6-26 years old. Usually called generation Z or Gen Z for short, according to Katadata they amounted to 75 million or around 28% of Indonesia’s population of 270.2 million people. A fraction of them has started to enter the workforce and became the youngest age group in it.
The reality that this age group is dominant requires anyone with an interest in demographic analysis to try and understand them. Those with certain interests, especially businessmen and those who carry out public communication activities. As someone who is included in the baby boomer generation and used an IBM XT computer for work for the first time in the mid-1980s, Gen Z is the generation of my grandchildren. Trying to bridge this distance is no easy feat, and I received aid from data searching on the internet.
Based on data collected from various sources, Gen Z is an age group that is born into a world surrounded by digital technology, and this factor became a part of their life since they were born. Those who grew up in this world are referred to as digital natives and are often clashed with digital immigrants who have to put a lot of effort into adapting to the digital world, especially baby boomers.
Considering the heavy influence of technology on Gen Z, it’s no surprise that digital technology cannot be separated from how they communicate in their day-to-day life. Their world is inseparable from digital technology. A January 2020 research in Indonesia by Alvira Research Center with IDN Media claimed that driven by the usage of gadgets, the internet consumption of Gen Z is extremely high that they’re called mobile generation.
Still based on the report by Alvira and IDN Media, Gen Z is connected to the internet for more than 7 hours a day and they preferred sites and social media platforms that entertain. They tend not to express their opinions on social media for privacy reasons. They also rarely use Facebook and Twitter, deeming the two platforms to be used by older generations such as Gen X (1965-1980) and millennials (1981-1997). Gen Z’s favorite gadget is the smartphone (98.4%) and the majority uses Android as the operating system. The use of personal laptops for internet access is only 12.3%.
More to Think About
The tendency to protect their privacy among Gen Z does not only occur in Indonesia. Global Web Index (GWI), a UK-based company active in the field of audience targeting found the same tendencies. GWI’s study titled “Gen Z: Observing the latest trends on Gen Zs” covering 46 countries, including Indonesia, found that the trend of protecting their privacy seemed to be a common practice for Gen Z all over the world. Internet access is especially used to seek out entertainment, including gaming. Regarding internet connectivity, GWI’s study showed a longer period, which is 8 hours or one hour longer than findings by Alvira/IDN.
GWI also found that TikTok is the most popular visual media among Gen Z, seen by how American teenager Charli d’Amelio (aged 17) got dubbed as “the Queen of TikTok” and amassing over 50 million followers in less than a year. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift was already famous as a singer, so it was not a surprise she managed to accumulate over 160 million followers on Instagram.
Referring to the findings in Indonesia and globally regarding lifestyle, including in regards to the internet, of course, is very important for communicators to find the best way to interact with Gen Z for various purposes, both for commercial and social. Reaching a Gen Z audience for the promotion of a product or idea, or important information about vaccinations or a pandemic for example, is a challenge in itself. The references used in communicating with previous generations must be reconsidered.
Gen Z is the mobile generation, the internet generation, and the digital generation, that the messages and the right platforms have to be included in communication strategy. The use of paper for pamphlets and flyers as well as putting up banners and billboards along with other traditional means will not attract their attention. Even digital platforms seen to be “outdated” by Gen Z such as Facebook and Twitter are not the right communication tools to reach them. Communicators’ skills in using technology to interact with Gen Z have become more important, otherwise, most of our efforts will be in vain.
Chairman & Chief Consultant, Kiroyan Partners
This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 75th Edition, issued on June 2021, page 48.
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