Generation Z consumers (those born between 1996 and 2015) are the most internet-dependent generation with 52% unable to go more than four hours without internet access before they feel uncomfortable, according to an international study conducted by The Center for Generational Kinetics and commissioned by WP Engine.

The research reveals web expectations of Gen Z in comparison to other generations including Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. Gen Z’s are far more likely than other generation to believe in the positive impact of technology on the world with 65% saying that artificial intelligence will have a positive impact and 75% believe the internet will bring us closer together. Further, 67% of Gen Z thinks the Internet will determine what they will do on a daily basis in five years’ time.

The Center for Generational Kinetics president, Jason Dorsey said Gen Z are a huge, diverse generation and the fastest growing group of employees, customers, and voters.

“As we have seen over the past three studies, this generation thinks and acts very differently. Their connectedness, their ability to navigate change quickly and their desire to have a positive impact on the world are all reflected in their higher expectations of technology and organisations,” he said.

When it comes to establishing trust in a brand, the top three factors for Gen Z are quality of a product, positive online ratings or reviews, and customer service. In addition, 75% of Gen Z is more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes

Gen Z has grown up in an era of personalisation based on their experiences with social media and these expectations extend to their preferences in shopping. In fact, far more than other generations, 57% of Gen Z is more likely to buy a product if they can customise it.

They expect the broader digital world to know what their likes, wants and interests are, with 72% suggesting that websites will know what you are looking for before you tell it and 66% believe that all websites will “talk” to each other, so every site, app or appliance, will present a personalised experience.

The companies who will succeed in this new world are those who have reimagined activities that were typically done in the physical world as digital experiences. For Gen Z, this is nothing new. For them, whether online or offline, the critical element is the ability to seamlessly move between each.

WP Engine country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Mark Randall said, “Gen Z are digital pioneers and have charted the path for the rest of the world to go fully digital. In Australia, lockdown has caused a profound change in the way we do everything, from shopping to eating to engaging with friends and family. Gen Z was already comfortable in that new paradigm, so if you meet the digital needs of Gen Z, you now meet the needs of the rest of the world.”