- On May 21, 2021
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English speakers prefer Instagram (63%), while Facebook is king amongst Sinhala speakers (72%).
Top social issues differed across Sinhala and English speakers; only 24% of the English group felt politics was the top issue, compared with 47.3% of the Sinhala group. The top issue was mental health and deforestation, respectively.
TikTok is a uniting factor. Levels of interests, engagement and views about it are similar. Nearly 50% of each group used TikTok.
Frequency of social media use is also relatively similar between the two groups; 24% of the Sinhala group and 20% of the English reported 2 hours per day; 16.9% and 22% reported 6 hours.
Say hello to the new kids on the block! As millennials move on, Gen Z (aka. Centennials) are now coming of age.
Who is Gen Z?
Generally, it is accepted that Gen Z individuals are those born between 1997 and 2015. Thus, Gen Z can be said to include individuals between 8 and 23 years of age, at the time of this writing.
Members of Gen Z are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation, and are on track to be the most well-educated generation yet. They are also digital natives who have little or no memory of the world as it existed before smartphones.
Cracking Sri Lanka’s Gen Z
As marketers, the better we understand the target group, the more effectively we can tailor our interactions & experiences to them. Thus, we conducted a survey and market research into the behavioural patterns and preferences of Gen Z in Sri Lanka to learn more about this new generation of digital natives.
Some of the findings are surprising. Others, not so much.
Divided Along Linguistic Lines
One of the least surprising findings of our research was that Gen Z was divided along the lines of language, with the majority being more comfortable in Sinhala than English; of 391 individuals surveyed, aged between 16 and 23 from across Sri Lanka, 296 preferred Sinhala and 96 preferred English.
The behaviours and preferences of each of these groups are also often distinctly different. Something that stood out was the preferred social media platforms amongst these groups.
The group that preferred Sinhala language communications overwhelmingly (72%) chose Facebook as their most used social media platform, while those who preferred English language communications showed a strong preference for Instagram (63.2%). Only 5.3% of the English group chose Twitter as their preferred platform, while in the Sinhala group Twitter usage was insignificant.
TikTok – A Uniting Factor?
Interestingly, our research showed that TikTok was selected in roughly equal measure between the two groups as a platform used at least once a week. 29.5% of the English group said they used TikTok at least once a week, while 27.7% of the Sinhala group also responded similarly. This is an important finding as it signals to marketers that TikTok is a platform they can use to get truly wide access across linguistic lines, particularly if bilingual content is used. Approximately half of each group used TikTok and that number is only growing.
Frequency of Social Media Usage
Social media usage followed somewhat similar patterns between the two groups. 24% in the Sinhala group used it for 4 hours per day while 20% in the English group did the same; 16.9% of the Sinhala group used it for more than 6 hours per day and 22% of the English group reported the same. Wider differences were seen between those reporting 2 hours per day and every other day.
Top Social Issues & Interests
According to our research, the English group was much less concerned with politics than the Sinhala group, with only 24% choosing it as a top social issue, compared with 47.3% of the Sinhala group. There is also a divide on what the most popular top social issue is, with the Sinhala group concerned with deforestation, while the English group was more worried about mental health.
The two groups were, however, united in their interest in music and movies, with this topic winning the top vote in both groups. This was also the case when asked about their preference for online and in-store shopping, which is interesting, further underscoring that this group is united in their connectedness!
Career and Saving
When asked about career and saving too, both groups responded in a relatively similar manner. 47% and 49.5% in the Sinhala and English groups respectively said that they had thought about their careers but were considering options. Interestingly, 7.1 percent of the Sinhala group responded saying they had not thought about it, while in the English group this figure was negligible.
Responding to whether they had started saving money for the future, the two groups again responded along similar lines, with 40.2% of the Sinhala group saying yes, compared with 46.3% in the English group. 12.2% and 10.5% respectively said no, while 47.6% and 43.2% respectively said not yet but they are thinking about it.
Preferred Method of Getting in Touch with a Business
In this case, the answers given by both groups varied significantly. The major common thread was WhatsApp, being selected by 25.7% in the Sinhala group and 23.2% in the English group, while both groups also showed equal preference for website contact forms. The most popular choice in the Sinhala group was Facebook/Facebook Messenger and for the English group it was Instagram Direct.
Looking for Products and Services Online
Here again, the preferred channels varied significantly between the two groups with no overlap. The 2 most preferred methods for the Sinhala group were Facebook and brand website at 49.7% and 32.8% respectively. 53.7% of the English group preferred brand websites, while the second most popular option was Instagram accounting for 31.6% of respondents.
When asked about how worried they were about the impact of Covid on the economy, the two groups were relatively homogenous in their responses, with 81.8% of the Sinhala group being very worried and 78.7% of the English group responding similarly. 14.9% and 17%, respectively, were a little worried.
In terms of how worried they were about Covid effects on their health, the two groups expressed different views. While 50.8% of the Sinhala group were very worried, only 35.1% of the English group were. 33.9% and 42.6%, respectively said the were a little worried, while 9.8% and 19.1%, respectively were not too worried.
Many More Findings – See Our Detailed Report
In addition to the findings highlighted here, our research uncovered many interesting insights into Sri Lanka’s Gen Z, such as “Biggest frustration when looking for products and services online”, online payment preferences and much more. Marketers will find these insights and information highly useful as they plan their marketing strategies to cater to this new target group.
What do you think about Gen Z and what has your experience been when marketing to them? If you’re Gen Z, how would you like to be reached out to by your favourite brands? Tell us in the comments below!
By Wasaam Ismail
CEO – Loops Integrated
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