Why 51% of gen Z feel they are more creative than previous generations

Having grown up with social media it is no surprise that generation Z feels it is the most digitally creative generation to date, according to a new study by agency Wunderman Thompson. 

Over half (51%) of gen Z feel that they are more creative than previous generations.

More than half (55%) of gen Z say that they find social apps and the internet a more creative space than anything they experience offline and 56% use social apps to express themselves creatively. Asked how they spend their free time offline, 77% of gen Z select at least one creative activity, such as drawing, illustrating, journaling, or playing an instrument.

Key findings

  • Over half of Gen Z say that they find social apps and the internet to be a more creative space than what they experience offline
  • Over half of Gen Z agree that their generation is more creative than previous generations
  • Over half of Gen Z use social apps to express themselves creatively
  • Over one in four (27%) Gen Z have “hacked” or adapted an app/website features to do something that isn’t typically available (such as use a picture collage app or app to add music, separate from the app they are posting with)
  • Compared to all apps tested (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, TikTok), Snapchat is said to be the top app among Gen Z for creating videos or images; sharing videos or images they’ve created; communicating with friends; sharing moments throughout their day; and posting what they’re doing with their day (text, images, or video).

Discussing how young people are motivated by causes to be creative, Lucie Greene, worldwide director JWT Intelligence at Wunderman Thompson, says: "One of the biggest insights from this report is the unique way Gen Z teens are using creativity to affect causes they care about – whether that’s inclusive video platforms for body positivity, creative platforms raising awareness of sustainability, or using photography to reframe how acne is in visual media.”

Future brand ambassadors

Greene says there is also a fascinating link between offline and online. “Whilst they are the first digital natives, this has also driven a huge enthusiasm for handmade crafts, making and offline experiences and communities. What’s exciting from a PR standpoint is that this group is already becoming paid-for creators – they are already monetising their work and have a huge amount of agency. These are the professionals that will be leading new campaigns and creating new exciting digital landscapes for brands.”

Further discussing the implications of the study for brands, Jane Austin, founder of agency Persuasion Communications, adds: "The report clearly demonstrates that Gen Z is a new force to be reckoned with – more so than earlier generations of young adults. With so many 13 to 22 year olds already becoming paid-for creators, the implications for brands and agencies are profound. These young people already have significant power well over and beyond their simple ability to spend money on purchasing or recommend a particular branded product or service; soon they will wield even more. Brands have always had to adjust in order to engage with each new generation.”

Austin concludes that brands need to be savvy to keep up with the digital expertise of young people these days:”Brands must work harder than ever before because of Gen Z's confidence and sophistication of Gen Z. The stakes are far, far higher now.”

Methodology

The quantitative study was conducted using SONAR, Wunderman Thompson’s own research unit. Data is representative of general population aged 13 to 22 in the United States and United Kingdom, May 2019. The report surveyed over 1,200 people aged 12–22 in the United Kingdom and United States.

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