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Gen Zers, Millennials Believe Making a Good Impression Online Is More Important Than Doing So in Person

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Yes, many Gen Zers and millennials live on their phones — so it’s not surprising that the majority of both generations say a digital presence supersedes an in-person one.

According to a recent survey by e-commerce and website-building platform Squarespace, 60% of Gen Zers (ages 18 to 24) and 62% of millennials (ages 25 to 40) feel that how you present yourself online is more important than how you present yourself in person.

The Squarespace study also looks at how Americans browse the web and what they feel about entrepreneurship, among other things — here’s what the survey reveals.

Website presence is king, though younger generations power it

People from all generations seem to agree that an online presence, such as a website or online store, is more important for businesses than a physical location. Among survey participants, 57% nod their heads in agreement on this — perhaps a bit of free advice for entrepreneurs.

While Gen Zers and millennials prioritize digital over in person, only 38% of Gen Xers (ages 41 to 56) and 29% of baby boomers (ages 57 to 75) feel the same.

Interestingly, nearly half (49%) of Americans think they can remember the color of a website better than the color of someone’s eyes — led by 71% of millennials and 58% of Gen Zers.

Among Gen Zers, 43% say they’re more likely to recall the last website they visited than:

  • Their partner’s birthday (38%)
  • Their Social Security number (31%)

Americans on average visit 3,000-plus websites a year

The survey found that Americans estimate they visit 8.4 websites daily on average, which adds to more than 3,000 annually.

More than 2 in 5 survey respondents report spending more time browsing the web than working out (43%) or having sex (42%) in a given week. As for what they’re doing? Two-thirds of Americans (66%) feel travel is the most important activity for online research.

The majority of Gen Zers (92%) multitask when checking out websites — and more than any other generation, they’re likely to do the following while browsing online:

  • Eat food (59%)
  • Listen to music (59%)
  • Talk on the phone (45%)
  • Dance (28%)

You lookin’ for me? What Americans do when they’re online

The majority of younger generations will look up someone before meeting them for the first time in person. This is true for 86% of Gen Zers and 79% of millennials, versus 65% of Gen Xers and 44% of baby boomers.

Every week, 20% of Americans look up their exes online, while nearly one-third (32%) do an online search for their current romantic partner. In fact, more than half of millennials (55%) and Gen Zers (51%) poke around the internet for their current partner at least once a week.

But it’s not all snooping around: 76% of millennials and 64% of Gen Zers always search for a business’s website before visiting, eating or shopping there. This is compared with 65% of Gen Xers and nearly half (49%) of baby boomers.

Entrepreneurs of the future

Younger generations appear to be more entrepreneurial than older generations. Ninety-two percent of Gen Zers say they would like to start a business, compared with 86% of millennials, 74% of Gen Xers and 50% of baby boomers.

Across generations, consumers say they would offer a service rather than selling a physical one. And as far as the online presence, 70% of respondents feel a well-designed website makes it more likely they’ll shop in person.

Those interested in launching their own business will likely need to obtain a good amount of capital. Options for this can include (among other things):

Methodology: The Harris Poll fielded a survey for New York-based Squarespace of more than 2,000 U.S. adults. It was conducted from June 3 to June 7, 2021.