Gen Z, everyone’s latest favorite punching bag, is more invested in digital cameras than you might think. Over 60 percent of the youngest generation own or use a digital camera.
Today’s youths—a category I begrudgingly admit that I fall into—are blamed for a lot; once a year, a new report, complete with a shiny statistic and scapegoat, bubbles to the surface and accuses us of destroying an industry. According to Business Insider, I and my fellow capitalism-quashers are killing Facebook (good!), preppy brands (good!), and books (OK, that’s not so good).
But I have exciting news, fellow youths: We’re not slaughtering the camera industry.
Over 60 percent of Gen Z use or own a digital camera, according to Digital Imaging Reporter. The majority are familiar with point-and-shoot cameras at 30 percent followed by DSLRs at 24 percent. Instant print cameras—perfect for capturing the mise en scene of Say Cheese and Die—sit at 18 percent. And bringing up the rear are action cameras and MILCs (mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras) at 14 and 5 percent, respectively.
DIR also found that 45 percent of Gen Z consider themselves snapshot photographers, meaning they’ll take a spur-of-the-moment picture when they want to document something new or exciting (but that’s probably not news if you’ve bumped into as many young, selfie-stick wielding tourists as I have). And given the ubiquity of online picture platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, it makes sense for younger folks to be familiar with the photography world. Everyone knows how to capture theirbest angle and sniff out the best lighting, and it’s common knowledge that many preened and perfect Insta-models are using something with a bit more power than a scratched-up iPhone 8.
Physical-print sales benefit from today’s teens, too: 41 percent of Gen Z respondents purchased a print in the last year. Only Millennials bought more hard copies. Gen X’s percentage was roughly equivalent to Gen Z’s. And get this—Baby Boomers came in dead last.
Most of this information is surprising, both because of young people’s widespread adoption of an industry many assumed dead and given the expense of quality cameras and accumulated cost of prints.
And hey, I get it. Why wouldn’t I want high-quality beach selfies printed, framed, and hanging on my wall—especially when I spend so much time shifting and posing to make sure I’m following PCMag’s selfie guide.