There’s no denying that video is one of the most popular mediums of content consumption online. Here’s looking at the kind of video content people from different age groups prefer.

Everyone – from little kids to aging grandparents – seems to be consuming copious amounts of video online and showing no signs of stopping any time soon either. This trend is exemplified through various studies including these select pieces of data from the Cisco Visual Networking Index:

  • “Mobile video traffic accounted for 60 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2016. Mobile video traffic now accounts for more than half of all mobile data traffic.”
  • “More than three-fourths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2021. Mobile video will increase 9-fold between 2016 and 2021, accounting for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.”

These figures are underscored and expanded upon by YouTube’s own statistics, which say:

  • “YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.”
  • “YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.”
  • “More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.”

And while YouTube is used by kids, teenager, adults, and elders, usage patterns, trends, and even the type of content is different for each age group. As a business video production company, we were curious to see what are the differences in the viewing patterns between Generation X, or those born in the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies, Generation Y (the 70s-80s born age group), and the mid-nineties to 2010s generation Z.

Online video viewing patterns of different age groups

Adweek has laid out a complete infographic of the viewing patterns of Gen X, Y, and Z. We have picked out the most salient statistics to from that study for you. Here they are in an easy to digest bullet point format:

  • With 71% daily viewership, Gen Z watches the most videos on YouTube, followed by Y with 49% and with X making up the numbers with 35%.
  • Older generations, namely X and Y watch how-to videos more than anything else with Gen X giving how-to videos the highest billing at 71% and the same genre coming a close second for gen Y at 72%.
  • Product reviews and unboxing videos are pretty popular across the board, with the latter finding a strong audience in Gen Z. according to the study, 64% of Gen X, 74% of Gen Y, and 77% of Gen Z watches reviews. Whereas 71% of Gen Z watches unboxings as compared to a measly 52% of Gen Y.
  • In terms of type of video, the survey found that Gen X favors educational content, Y prefers workout videos, and Z is all about the vlogs, and style and fashion content.
  • Across the board, YouTube is the biggest platform for online video consumption with 78%, 86% and 93% of Generations X, Y, and Z taking to YT for their videos respectively. Instagram is second favorite of at 56%, with only 41% of Gen X and 59% of Gen Y using insta to fulfill their video needs. Instead 57% of Gen X and 60% of Gen Y use Facebook instead. Snapchat is only used by Gen Z and while it currently a distant third at 41% for this generation, the survey indicates that its popularity is still on the rise.

These numbers are also corroborated by Pew Research data which suggests that “YouTube is widely used by younger users – 82% of 18- to 29-year-olds used YouTube in 2014, compared with 34% of those 65 and older.”

It is quite apparent from all these numbers that Generation X, Y, and Z have fairly different approaches to watching content online and a strong variety in terms of the type of content they consume as well.

Marketers and business owners will have alter their content to suit these patterns and needs in order to ensure that they achieve maximum reach for their target market when basing it on the crucial demographic that is age group. When the interests of these age groups are largely so diverse, there cannot be a one size fits all approach to creating video content. Instead a focused decision made to reach one or two particular age groups is definitely more likely to yield positive results.

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