Gen Z

51% of Generation Z uses TikTok instead of Google to search the internet. They prefer the video format of the results and the more recognizable and personalized answers. TikTok influences their purchasing decisions more than any other platform. Google has now also recognized TikTok’s search function as a growing threat. Although Google dominates online search in the US (77.5%) and globally (83.5%), this youth behavior could seriously threaten Google’s long-term revenue model.

Generation Z, also known as ‘Gen Z’ or ‘Zoomers’, was born between 1997 and 2010/2012. Since the 2010s, there has been Generation Alpha (born 2010-2025). Generation Z is characterised by being familiar with the use of the internet, apps and social media from a young age. Other names for this generation are thumb generation (for operating smartphones and remote controls) and Z-ombie generation (due to staring at the mobile phone, unaware of the real environment).

Favorite search engine to buy

TikTok is the search engine of choice for more than half of Generation Z. 74% of Generation Z uses the TikTok search engine, and 51% chose TikTok over Google as their search engine because of the video format of the results (69%), the greater recognizability of the answers (65%) and the more personalized answers (47%).

TikTok gets people buying: Nearly 3 out of 4 Gen Zers bought something after seeing it on TikTok. And for 62% of Generation Z, it influences purchasing decisions, more than any other platform. Generation Z relies heavily on social media to discover new brands and products. 61% of survey respondents say they trust influencers and brands more than family or friends for recommendations.

Side notes

TikTok is more popular with Gen Z when it comes to watching video content, but Instagram wins when it comes to daily use (76% vs. 95%).

The survey was conducted online: 100% of respondents were from the US, 97% (!) were women and 71% were students. You may wonder whether this research is very representative…

Although TikTok is not a web search engine like Google, it could pose a threat to Google’s revenue model, which is based on sales advertisements. The fact that TikTok is under fire for privacy violations and the forwarding of user data to China, and is therefore increasingly restricted, will not be a bad thing for Google…

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