YouTube, Shorts, & TikTok: Comparing Gen X, Y, & Z! Usage rates, how they’re used, & effectiveness of ads <Part 1>

YouTube, Shorts, & TikTok: Comparing Gen X, Y, & Z! Usage rates, how they’re used, & effectiveness of ads <Part 1>

Gen Z has been enjoying videos since their school days and known as one of the first to adopt short-form videos. We’ll analyze how they use video-format social media and compare with Gen X and Y. This analysis will cover medium usage, popular content, daily integration, purchasing behavior, and awareness.


Gen Z’s usage rate is approximately 92% for YouTube, 83% for Shorts, & 59% for TikTok

We will do an in-depth analysis of YouTube, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok usage, which we surveyed using a questionnaire, with the intent to compare Generations X, Y, and Z, and we will also include thoughts and input from the point-of-view of the writer, who is an actual member of Gen Z. Regarding the definition of the generations, as of December 2023, those ages 15 to 26 are Generation Z, those ages 27 to 41 are Generation Y, and those ages 42 and over are Generation X.

YouTube, YouTube Shorts, & TikTok usage: TikTok is about 40%! “Learning” for YouTube & “Trends” for TikTok

https://manamina.valuesccg.com/articles/3243

Compared to YouTube, which has a high usage rate, what is the usage rate of short-form videos, like YouTube Shorts and TikTok? What are their most popular videos, their position in daily life, how are they used? Which leads to purchasing a product? Based on the survey data, we investigated the usage of each medium.

First, the usage rate for each medium among Gen Z (excluding those who “Don’t use it at all”) is approximately 92% for YouTube, approximately 83% for YouTube Shorts, and approximately 59% for TikTok.

In particular, the difference in the usage rate of YouTube Shorts between Gen Z and Gen Y is large, at about 18 points, and the difference in usage rate between YouTube and YouTube Shorts is about 9 points for Generation Z and about 20 points for Generation Y. It can be seen that the percentage of people from Generation Y or older who use YouTube but have not used YouTube Shorts is higher than Gen Z. Additionally, about half of Gen Z respondents said they use YouTube Shorts “Almost every day,” indicating that they are quickly becoming accustomed to this medium.

Regarding TikTok, only Gen Z had a usage rate of over half.
*In the main text, regular YouTube videos that do not include Shorts videos are referred to as “YouTube.”

Frequency of use for each medium (by generation)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old & above in Japan

The reason why Gen Z actively watches short-form videos may be because they have less resistance to new things than older generations, and also because they can efficiently find “what they like.” The more the things you like increase, the more areas you will feel a sense of belonging to. If it's a long-form video like a normal YouTube video, it takes time to decide whether or not you like the content creator, but short-form videos that condense the highlights of the video, such as clips, offer a faster way of discovering more things that you can “like,” making it easier to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Looking at the average usage time per day, Gen Z is more likely than older generations to spend at least 30 minutes a day on any medium.

Average usage time per day for each medium (by generation)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old & above in Japan (users from each media)

“Gaming commentary” and “Clips” are popular among Gen Z!

So, what genres of videos does Gen Z often watch on each medium? We have ranked the responses in descending order of response rate and have listed the top 15.

Let's start with the rankings for YouTube.

Usual genres viewed on YouTube (by generation)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old & above in Japan (users from each media)

*There are a total of 33 options below
Beauty/Makeup/Fashion, Dance covers, Lifestyle (Vlog/Morning routine, etc.), Variety show (I tried…, quiz, relatable, etc.), Explanation/Analysis, Ghost-related, Music video / Music, Gaming commentary, Mukbang, Self-Development (business, mindset, etc.), ASMR, Comedy/Impersonations, News programs, Clips, Pet/Animal, Cooking, Specialized knowledge/Experiences, Outdoor (camping, fishing, hiking, etc.), Couples-related, Anime/Drama, Educational (English, mathematics, cram school instructor commentary, etc.), Lifehack, VTuber, Product introduction, Gluttony, Restaurant introduction, Sports, Family/Childcare, Travel & introduction to regions & countries, TV personality (entertainer, voice actors, idols, etc.), Fitness/Training, Other, I don't know / I don't remember.

The genre of video most Gen Z watches on YouTube is "Gaming commentary,” with an overwhelming 45% of respondents. “Gaming commentary” ranks first among Gen Y, with a percentage of about 27%. Among Gen X, it ranks 14th at about 7%. In addition, compared to older generations, Gen Z often watches “Clips (4th place / about 21%),” “VTuber (5th place / about 21%),” and “ASMR (9th place / about 13%).

So, if we divide Gen Z by gender, will there be any differences in the genres they watch?
“Gaming commentary,” which was characteristic of Gen Z as a whole, is watched by approximately 50% of Gen Z men and 39% of Gen Z women, making it particularly popular among male users. “Clips” was ranked 5th for both men and women, and there was no big difference. "VTuber" has a slightly higher percentage of men, and "ASMR" has a slightly higher percentage of women. In addition, “Music video / Music” was ranked first among Gen Z women at 40%, which was found to be even more popular than among Gen Z men, at about 27%.

Usual viewing genres on YouTube (Gen Z by gender)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old in Japan (users from each media)
*Choices are a total of 33 items mentioned above

Comparing the video genres that are commonly viewed on YouTube Shorts by generation, similar to YouTube, Gen Z has distinct themes such as “Clips,” “Gaming commentary,” and “VTuber.”

Usual viewing genres for YouTube Shorts (by generation)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old & above in Japan (users from each media)
*Choices are a total of 33 items mentioned above

Generations X and Y watch “Cooking” and “Animal” videos on TikTok, while Gen Z watches entertainment

Looking at the genres on TikTok, “Cooking” and “Pet/Animal” rank high for Gen Y and X, while for Gen Z, entertainment-related genres such as “Clips,” “Anime/Drama,” “Music video / Music” ranked in the order of first to third.

TikTok may be often used by the busy child-rearing generation to quickly find a recipe or fit in a quick break for relaxation in their spare time.

Usual viewing genres on TikTok (by generation)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old & above in Japan (users from each media)
*Choices are a total of 33 items mentioned above

When TikTok's Gen Z users are divided into men and women, the viewing genres are as follows. Comparing men and women, “Music video / Music,” “Beauty/Makeup/Fashion,” “TV personality (entertainer, voice actors, idols, etc.),” and “Pet/Animal” are most popular among Gen Z women.

Usual viewing genres on TikTok (by Gen Z gender)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years & above (users from each media)
*Choices are a total of 33 items mentioned above

Why are “Clips” and “Gaming commentary” popular among Gen Z?

“Clips” ranked high among Gen Z across YouTube, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok. Why are video clips so popular among Gen Z?

This may have something to do with the fact that Gen Z often watches gaming commentary. If you watch gaming commentary videos on a regular basis, you will be more likely to get suggestions for short video clips from various content creators. Long-form videos of gaming commentary tend to be long, and there tends to be a large number of videos for each game, so video clips are likely to be created. Meanwhile, many Gen Z are already very interested in the genre of gaming commentary, so there are many who will watch the video if they appear, or many may want to sit down and watch it carefully, or for videos not from games or commentators, some people may only want to watch the highlights in short clips and focus on the interesting parts. In addition, there may be a motivation similar to that of “Oshikatsu” (“Oshikatsu” are activities that fans do to support their favorite idols, anime characters, etc.) to keep watching the highlights of their favorite games or videos of commentators, even if they have already watched the full video.

So, why does Gen Z like watching gaming commentary? Commentary videos allow you to relax and enjoy the game without having to spend money to actually buy the game or use your concentration and physical strength to play it yourself. The point is that you can enjoy the game “without exerting your own energy.” In addition, you can enjoy the game as if you are playing the game with the commentators and other viewers, and especially with the users who write in the comments section. It may be similar to a community of gaming commentary viewers or “Oshikatsu.” In addition, many university students are likely to be able to enjoy watching their favorite long-form videos as they wish because it is easier to find the time to watch them and many also live alone.

Moving between media, from short-form videos to long-form videos, is particularly popular among Gen Z men

Next, let's take a look at moving between mediums, from YouTube Shorts to regular YouTube videos, and from YouTube to TikTok.

In both cases, it can be seen that Gen Z, and especially Gen Z men, are actively moving between media. This seems to be due to the fact that Gen Z watches Shorts more actively than older generations and that there are many people who watch “Clips.”

Moving to other media (by generation)
Period: December 20-27, 2023
Target: males & females 15 years old & above in Japan (users from each media)

So far, we have investigated usage rates by generation, popular video genres, and movement between media. In Part 2, we will delve deeper into how to use each medium based on usage styles and free-response answers. We also investigate purchasing behavior, including reactions to promotional activity.

▼[Part 2] Table of contents
● Does Gen Z “want to support content creators” and “want to gain empathy and a sense of togetherness”?
● Approximately half of Gen Z women use TikTok to search for restaurants and travel destinations
● “Oshikatsu” through watching live broadcast on YouTube, behind-the-scenes on Shorts, fan art on TikTok
● For Gen Z, who are sensitive to promotions, what are the effects of social media advertising?
● Gen Z men make the most purchases on YouTube, while Gen Z women make the most purchases on TikTok
● Generation Z has a strong input and output of word-of-mouth

[Overview of the research/analysis]
The survey research was conducted between December 20-27, 2023 (27,519 respondents) targeting VALUES’ consumer panel (males & females 15 years old & above) nationwide rin Japan egarding the use of YouTube, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok.
*The questionnaire is weighted according to population by gender and age and internet usage rate.

※日本語での記事はこちらをご確認ください

Z世代のYouTube・YouTubeショート・TikTokの利用実態をX・Y世代と比較!利用率や使い分け、広告の効果は?<前編>

https://manamina.valuesccg.com/articles/3117

Z世代は、学生時代から動画を楽しむことが当たり前な世代。短尺動画もいち早く取り入れているイメージが強いのではないでしょうか。今回は、Z世代が動画のSNS媒体をどのように使いこなしているのかを、X・Y世代と比較しながら深掘り分析。それぞれでよく見られている動画や、媒体の生活の中での位置づけ、使い方や使い分け、商品の購買に一番繋がりやすい媒体はどれかなど、各媒体の利用実態、および購買意識を徹底調査しました。

この記事のライター

Born and raised in the Bay Area, U.S.A, I was fascinated by the different social and purchasing behaviors between Japanese and American consumers. I studied communication for undergrad and international marketing for my graduate studies. My professional background is in bilingual recruitment and Japanese-English translation.

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