New research from TotallyAwesome reveals gaming is the new social for Gen Alpha

Gaming research

“Gaming is no longer just gaming – it’s their new social.”

Released on Wednesday, August 16, TotallyAwesome’s annual Youth-First Digital Insights research found social via gaming is fast becoming the choice of Aussie Gen Alpha (4-18).

According to the research, Gen Alpha’s use of social media has declined an average of 8% over the past 12 months and they are instead turning to gaming platforms to socialise.  The report notes 50% of teens now game so they can play with their friends and 46% game because it makes them feel more connected with their friends.

TotallyAwesome’s annual Youth-First Digital Insights study also reveals the impact gaming has on Gen Z and Gen Alpha’s mental health and their engagement in their community, showcasing the significant opportunity for brands and marketers to engage with this often-elusive audience.

According to Alice Almeida, regional head of data, research and insights at TotallyAwesome, the research indicates if brands want to secure long-term loyalty with the next generation of customers they must be brave. 

“If you want to capture the hearts and minds of youth and build meaningful and long-lasting relationships – you need to get into gaming. It’s their now and their future.

“Our hope is that marketers and media agencies will use the rich insights and learnings from this research to connect with youth in a safe, relevant, and effective way,” said Almeida.

Other key findings from TotallyAwesome’s Youth-First Digital Insights study include:

• 37% of Gen Alpha and 33% Gen Z youth across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) are now turning to gaming when feeling anxious or stressed.
• Gaming is now broadly gender agnostic especially amongst Gen Alpha, where 46% of girls use gaming to relieve anxiety, while boys sit at 54%.
• 84% of Gen Z in ANZ said they play games on devices such as smartphones, gaming consoles, or computers. This presents a huge opportunity for brands in the in-game advertising space, especially for those who can authentically engage this group of gamers.
• Instagram (74%), Facebook (67%), YouTube (60%) and Snapchat (56%) are the preferred platforms for ANZ Gen Z. Twitch (14%), Twitter (21%) and WhatsApp (27%) were less popular.

Will Anstee, TotallyAwesome‘s executive chairman, said, “Our Youth-first Digital Insights underscores the gaming industry’s profound influence on Gen Z and Gen Alpha. When it comes to forging a sense of community and self-expression, young people are increasingly looking to gaming as the most important space for social bonding. Gaming is no longer just gaming – it’s their new social.”

This is the eighth year that TotallyAwesome has conducted its Youth-first Digital Insights research in 14 markets across APAC. The research, conducted through PureProfile panels, engaged with 9000 Gen Z and Gen Alpha and over 5000 of their parents across APAC, with more than 1200 of those based in ANZ.

The results will be presented in full at a live and free webinar on Thursday 24th August at 2 pm AEST. 

See also: IAB Australia Gaming Summit 2023: The misconception around gamers and how a gaming ad campaign can be a catalyst for change

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