Generation Z

Image via Gogo

APEX Insight: The latest installment of Gogo’s Global Traveler Research Series zeroes in on Generation Z and includes a foreboding find for the future of seatback screens.

Released this week, the latest installment of in-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo’s Global Traveler Research Series builds off of earlier research on millennials and shifts its focus to the Generation Z demographic. Unsurprisingly, Gen Zers reinforce the preferences of millennials, especially when it comes to tech expectations. Most notably, Gen Z, also known as iGen and Gen Tech, is the first generation to prefer personal devices over seatback screens.

Defined generally as the cohort born between the years 1995 and 2011, Generation Zers are today’s teenagers and young adults, falling between seven and 23 years old. Where millennials, those 24 to 38 years old, might have had an iPod as their first gadget, for Gen Zers’ it was a smartphone. At an estimated 60 million, Gen Zers represent more than one-fifth of the US population, outnumbering the oft-scrutinized millennials by at least a million.

Generation Zers are less likely than millennials to have a frequent flyer membership.

Gogo’s research, which focuses on those aged 18-23, finds that Gen Zers are far more likely to consider themselves novice air travelers, compared to millennials. Accordingly, they’re less likely to have a frequent flyer membership, too (35 percent, versus 51 percent of millennials), representing a significant opportunity for airlines.

Although new to the workforce, Generation Z brags an impressive $44 billion in purchasing power. Factor in its influence on parent and home purchases and its actual spending power is closer to $200 billion.

Higher Expectations

While they may consider themselves novice flyers, Gen Zers take to flight with high expectations. Gogo’s report found that they are more likely to consider in-flight amenities a necessity when traveling, and 97 percent would like some level of personalization on their next flight.

As fluent-in-emoji digital natives, Gen Zers’ tech savviness makes them better at multitasking and translates to expectations for multiple in-flight entertainment options – including access to social platforms, and the ability to play video games and stream TV and movies. According to a recent study from Pew Research Center, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are the most popular platforms among teens.

That 91 percent of Gen Zers expect in-flight Wi-Fi should come as no surprise. The amenity is so important to them that they’re more likely than millennials to prioritize Wi-Fi when booking a flight (37 percent versus 35 percent of millennials).

They’re also more likely than millennials to bring a device on board. In fact, Gen Zers are averaging three devices per flyer – and they’re slightly more likely to use their devices in-flight too (91 percent versus 89 percent of millennials).

For a generation that would sooner use a flashlight app than they would an actual flashlight, it’s not surprising that Generation Z would rather use personal devices instead of “old school” seatback screens to consumer content in flight. Besides, it pretty much goes without saying that teenagers prefer to be left to their own devices.




Katie is a writer for APEX Media, based in Toronto, Ontario.