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Gen Z Study – Research Preferences

In June 2021, we launched a qualitative study with our subset of our Gen Z panel with the main focus of the study being on research and communication preferences. We wanted to research this growing market as we understand the importance they will have on the economy in just a short few years, Gen will represent 30% of the global workforce by 2030.

This qualitative study was recruited through our Gen Z panel and additionally through Instagram and TikTok. All research was handled internally by HubUX.

Executive Summary 

As digital natives — the first generation that can truly make this claim — GenZ requires authenticity first and foremost. Given their sophistication with tools, brands that don’t walk the talk will find themselves shunned or outed as disingenuous. 

  • Ensure that any claims or requests you make of GenZ are backed-up by your entire digital presence. For example, if you only fly LGBT colors for a day, a week or a month, GenZ will notice that your brand seems to be taking advantage of a popular topic, versus being an ally.
  • Also, GenZ responds more favorably to people of their own generation. If brands use channels that GenZ tends to use, and have GenZ people carrying brand messages, it will clearly be more well-received. 

Part of obtaining trust from GenZ includes understanding how they prefer to receive various types of communications. Like a bullseye target, members of GenZ have levels of acceptance for the types of communications they’ll tolerate on which channels.

  • Sending a blind SMS to a GenZ prospect, just because you have their mobile number, is in danger of breaching their communications preferences. If vague or hidden permissions are part of obtaining mobile information, you will be seen as predatory.

GenZ is the “woke” generation. They were raised on anti-bullying campaigns, and know very well that bias exists in society and that this plays a role in their daily lives. Differently-abled people, those of non-traditional genders and sexual orientations are very much a part of their consciousness. They sense disingenuousness and phoniness very easily and will reject brands seemingly insensitive to different types of people.

  • Again, given their sophistication with the digital world, an integrated brand that tells the same story across all channels is crucial to obtaining and keeping GenZ trust for authenticity. 

Not surprisingly, GenZ is acutely aware of the value of their information. They are used to thinking about providing information as a transaction that has value, and fully expect to be compensated for this asset.

  • When asking for permissions for personal information, signing up for communications, or asking for participation in research or similar data-related efforts, consider clearly offering value back to GenZ. Consider this the cost of doing business with a group of people who are very aware of their value to companies.

Don’t trivialize your brand’s digital presence

Gen X & Millennials grew up with this instruction from mom, “Be home by dark.” They have had to adapt to technology and have been dubbed “Digital Adopters”. 

Gen Z has had the unique experience of growing up with a phone in their hand. They are “Digital Natives”. Consequently, they experience deep connections in a digital context.


IMPACT: View digital as real & invest accordingly.

Q. Tell me about a recent meaningful experience you had online or in-person?


Gen Z uses digital authenticity to determine if they will participate in research

Gen Z has a greater awareness of digital scams because of their increased exposure to digital deception.

Consequently, they have existing tools to easily identify if someone is trying to take advantage of them or not:

  • Google Images
  • Social Account Age & Activity 
  • Use of Native Language 

IMPACT: Invest time and treasure in your online presence.

Q. When someone contacts you trying to solicit or date you how do you decide whether or not they are a catfish/legitimate? 


Gen Z has clear preferences for communication relative to Market Research

Gen Z has clear internal guidelines about what is appropriate vs inappropriate for communication about research opportunities grounded in the context of the mediums. 

  • Email is used for a mix of personal, educational, entertainment, and professional. 
  • SMS requires a degree of trust and approval. 
  • Social DMs are more personal but offers are appropriate. 

NOTE: Social Platforms and Google Adwords target potential participants based on previous participation.What is your preference for communication with a market research recruiter? Text? Email? Phone Call? Direct messages on social media?

Q. What is your preference for communication with a market research recruiter? Text? Email? Phone Call? Direct messages on social media?

Gen Z wants a value for value incentive

Gen Z sees participation in research similar to being an UBER driver, i.e. part of the Gig Economy. Thus, they have an expectation that their inputs will have a cash outcome. 

They also recognize that their data and opinions have value. 

IMPACT: We can quickly be viewed as a scam because Gen Z has a heightened awareness of fraud and a view that “no one wins sweeps”. Cash is king for them.

Q. What type of incentive would motivate you the most to participate? Cash? Event tickets? Donation? Gift Cards? Sweepstakes?  

Gen Z is aware of prejudice embedded in research

Othering is a phenomenon in which some individuals or groups are defined and labeled as not fitting in within the norms of a social group. 

It is an effect that influences how people perceive and treat those who are viewed as being part of the in-group versus those who are seen as being part of the out-group.

IMPACT: Researchers must focus on inclusion and not rely on catch-all “other” as a category.

Q. Have you participated in surveys? If so, tell me about your experience.


Contact US

We are launching a syndicated product called BeGreat Insight to research this growing segment which will represent 30% of the global workforce by 2030. We are currently pre-selling subscriptions to this product and we only have 50 spots available (open exclusively to brands). Initial subscribers will be able to vote on the monthly topics we explore. If you’re interested, shoot me an email at or drop a line below.