Gen Z Mobile Insights Study

Research & Insights

The new non-binary mobile reality

We set out to help ViacomCBS better understand the ways in which mobile devices affect interpersonal relationships, connections with brands, and mental health habits among young adults.

Mobility: most of the research covering devices are anchored in a perspective that compares our current reality to a pre-digital world. We set out to learn how has mobile tech affected the new ways Millennials and Gen Zs communicate, form identity, learn and consume?

The Big Picture

In order to uncover insights well below the surface of what’s been already been covered, we embarked an on extensive study, employing multiple methods from secondary data mining to digital surveys to in-depth interviews…and an infuriating experiment for a few young adults (more below!).

The results were telling of not only where young adults are with their devices, but where they are headed. The phone’ is a lens through which everything they learn, laugh or cry at is filtered through. This is more than I need my phone”; this is a whole new way to think about our devices.

By understanding what drives these behaviors and sentiments, ViacomCBS and their partners are better positioned to build products, services and entertainment that will be more relevant to their consumers.

Zooming In

How did we get there? We had to get creative in order to get the real impact. While we did all the things you might expect from a study of this magnitude, we found these two approaches netted the greatest insight:

Millennials and Gen Zs reflected on their mobile habits, behaviors and addictions.
Through short diary entries and selfie-style videos fielded throughout our qualitative study, our participants gave us a foundational understanding of the highs and lows that mobile devices inspire in their generation — and shaped our hypotheses and research objectives for the rest of the study.

Millennials and Gen Zs then gave researchers free-reign of their mobile usage in a 10-day social study.

Each day was a different experiment, from cutting out social media entirely (yikes!) to nixing any news source (what’s going on?!) to avoiding multitasking (how is that even possible!!!???) to a full mobile phone blackout day (that’s just plain mean!). 

Each day, respondents provided screenshots and reflections on the struggles and good things that came from it. It turned out we weren’t the only ones to gain from it; this experimental study enabled respondents to gain greater insight into their own mobile behavior and the social and emotional needs that drive them.

So Much to Learn

Interested in the findings? Hit up ViacomCBS for a robust presentation on the future of mobile tech and how brands can be better positioned to win.