Online marketing insights

Media consumption by generation

Last updated - September 26 2023 1:08 AM
Aleksandra Kozioł
Reading time - 6 min
Online marketing insights

Media consumption by generation

Last updated - September 26, 2023
Aleksandra Kozioł
6 min Read

It is obvious media consumption is not constant. It changes with the advent of new technologies and generational changes. Two hundred years ago, people were used to getting news from newspapers. Then, in the mid-1890s, the radio was invented, and in 1926 – television. Today, young generations consume media mostly through the Internet and social media. Let’s have a closer look at how media consumption differs depending on the generation.

Of course, media generation statistics will differ between countries and regions, but general trends stay the same worldwide. That’s why, for the sake of this article, we’ll base primarily on the data from the United States. published an interesting chart showing major media consumption trends in 2022 among four generations: 

  • Gen Z (born in the mid-to-late 1990s)

  • Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996)

  • Gen X (born between mid-to-late 1960s and early 1980s)

  • Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964)

generations media consumption

Let’s have a closer look at each generation (in reverse order).

How Baby Boomers consume media

Interestingly, for almost 20% of people in this generation, printed newspapers are still a vital source of information. That’s likely the effect of their habits – when people from the Baby Boomers generation were young adults, printed newspapers were very popular, and people used to read them every day. This also explains the highest popularity of online newspapers among this generation – 40% of answers.

Baby Boomers also have the highest result when it comes to TV – the only generation that exceeds 90%. The same is true when it comes to radio – the only generation with a result of above 65%. And what about social media? Here, the result is the lowest, and that’s understandable. For many people from this generation, the Internet is still a novelty, let alone social media. And although Boomers are increasingly comfortable with using digital media, they are still a bit behind younger generations that got acquainted with the Internet much earlier.

How Gen X consumes media

For people in this generation, TV, social media, and radio are two major sources of knowledge and news – with 87, 78, and 62% answers, respectively. Importantly, printed media are still there, with over 15% of answers, but the chart clearly shows the decreasing importance of this media (the same is true for radio and online newspapers).

The chart shows a significant 12% difference when it comes to social media consumption between Boomers and Gen X. That’s not a surprise; people in this generation were introduced to digital media much quicker, so they are more natural to them.

How Millennials consume media

Here, we have two clear winners – social media and TV. Interestingly, for Millennials, radio is even more popular (55%) than digital newspapers (39%). The importance of printed media is slightly decreased, but the result remains still above the 10% threshold.

When it comes to Millennials, the fact that all available media are popular may be the result of the fact that for these people, their childhood was still a time without access to the Internet. Millennials usually discovered the online world in their late teenage years (mind you, the oldest millennials were in their early 20s when Facebook first started spreading across college campuses).

According to a different study conducted by the Pew Research Center, back in 2019, 86% of Millennials were using social media, which shows the significance of this channel for this age group.

How Gen Z consumes media

Since Gen Z representatives were born in the late 1990s, it is obvious that the online world is their natural environment (it’s the only age group with social media scoring over 90% of answers). In this age group, printed media consumption is marginal (only 5% of answers). What’s important, many people from this generation still recognize other media, including radio (29%), digital newspapers (30%), and TV (70%).

How is social media consumed?

When you go back to the chart mentioned in the introduction to this article, you will see that social media is the only medium that notes a growing trend in consumption – from 66% among Baby Boomers to 93% among Gen Z. Let’s have a look at how this medium is consumed:

social media consumption

As you can see, the majority of answers are daily and a few times a week. Baby Boomers are the exception, with just 26% of them using social media on a daily basis and over 40% of them never using this medium. Interestingly, just 6% of people from Generation Z don’t use social media at all. 

Moreover, we can draw a conclusion that social media is something you do regularly or never. Answers such as “I use social media a few times per month” or once or less than once per month” are marginal in almost all age groups.

Media device ownership

Lastly, it is vital to have a look at what kind of devices enable the consumption of digital media (including the Internet and social media) people in different age groups usually have. Here, a study conducted by the Pew Research Center is extremely helpful.

media consumption by device

As you can imagine, Millennials (Gen Z was not included in the study) are ahead of other generations. 93% of Millennials own a smartphone, and 55% of them own a tablet computer. Probably, if the study comprised Gen Z it would show even higher results for this age group, especially when it comes to smartphones.

Wrapping up

Media consumption differs between generations, but it’s important to track how different people consume media in today’s dynamic environment. This is especially important if you run a publishing/news business or if you communicate with your target audience using social media.

Whatever the case, you should make every effort to stay in touch with your customers, subscribers, and readers. There are many ways to enable quick and constant communication, but today, we want to turn your attention to push notifications.

The publishing industry is where PushPushGo shines! We help our clients with the following questions: 

  • Conversion optimization

  • Development of the subscriber base

  • User retention

  • Personalization of communication (e.g., based on each user’s location)

We invite you to take a look at our use cases in the publishing industry. And if you want to try push notifications to see how this channel can give your business a boost – we are at your service!

author photo
Aleksandra Kozioł

Content Specialist @PushPushGo

Editor and writer. She is interested in media and new technologies. 

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