Generational Media Consumption Trends

A look at the habits of media consumption across generations, and what this means for the future of connecting with audiences.

The ever-changing digital media landscape became more complicated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people of all ages stuck at home relied on digital media to stay informed and entertained. The 15th Annual Digital Media Trends Report by Deloitte reveals changes in media consumption habits across generations, and provides useful information that can guide future efforts when aiming to reach different age groups.

Here’s my quick take from the report:


Baby Boomers, who were defined in the report as people born between 1947 to 1965, still stick to traditional media, including movies, TV, and print as their main sources of entertainment and news. However, Boomers are a force on social platforms like YouTube and Facebook, where 67% and 78% of the generation are active on those sites respectively as of 2020.

While Boomers are not traditionally considered a priority audience when it comes to digital marketing, the report shows that they do have an active digital presence and strategies to connect with them are as critical as ever. People in this generation are spending more time on the internet than ever before, they rely on video content, are more likely to share content to their large social networks.

Gen X

Gen Xers, born between 1966 and 1982, have habits that are seen in both Boomers and Millennials. This age group is technologically savvy and spends as much time on the internet as Millennials. Get Xers prefer to get their news and current events from social media and TV news at about the same rate, demonstrating their growing interest in getting information from the internet rather than broadcast or cable news. Additionally, this generation had the largest increase in media consumption during COVID-19.

In higher ed, Gen Xers play a critical role: They are the parents of Gen Z, the majority age group of students. Gen Xers spend the majority of their time on YouTube and Facebook, and account for 1.5 billion daily views on YouTube. Think With Google found that Gen Xers are highly influenced by nostalgia, with 75% of them watching videos that relate to past events.


Millennials, defined as the age group born between 1983 and 1996, are savvy with technology and enjoy more non-traditional forms of media, including podcasts and streaming services. Millennials were the original pioneers of the internet, and are active across social media platforms, especially Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Because of their savvy internet practices, 72% of Millennials are more interested in personalized, authentic messages, and 75% of Millennials say a brand’s social media presence impacts their purchasing decision. This age group listens to podcasts more than any other, and their interest in cutting-edge practices continues to grow.

Gen Z

Gen Z, the age group born from 1997 to 2007, has the widest range of media habits compared to other generations. Social media is the number one way people in this age group get their news, but they also view social media as a place to connect with others who have similar interests. Notably, Generation Z is the first (according to the Deloitte report) to not rank “watching TV and movies” as their main form of digital media consumption, but instead ranked activities like “playing video games,” “listening to music,” “browsing the internet,” and “engaging on social platforms,” in that order, as their favorite digital habits. Additionally, the report notes that some of these activities are happening simultaneously.

Generation Z is proving that digital media trends are changing among younger people, and will have a rippling effect on the entire digital media industry and its future practices. Platforms like gaming streaming service Twitch, TikTok, Spotify, YouTube and more might become the best digital mediums to reach Gen Zers, and more traditional efforts might not work as well. Gen Zers are heavily involved with nearly all aspects of internet culture, and their ability to influence it is only growing. Being present in all areas Gen Z is online is critical in remaining in touch with the youngsters.