Articles & stories

Trends and Media

Digital, mobile, and social interaction molds the zeitgeist of young people. Trends and media (this year's core issue) are closely linked. If we were to choose a symbol to represent today's youth, it would have to be the smartphone.

In keeping with the optimistic conclusion of the previous chapter are the following findings about media use: Between one-third and one-half of respondents check several times a day to see what is happening in the world. Over the past five years, these figures have increased especially in the United States (+14 percentage points) and Switzerland (+12 percentage points). The topics of particular interest to respondents span a surprisingly wide range. At the top of the list are music and weather, followed by "regional information," then "culture" and "new products."

Proportion of young people who consult the media several times a day to stay informed about current affairs









Young people tend to have strong opinions about what is currently "in" or "out." This year, an examination of trends – a characteristic feature of the Credit Suisse Youth Barometer – reveals the following: Young people are most interested in all things digital. Of the 20 things identified as "in" in the four surveyed countries, 17 are related to the digital world. Two of the three offline exceptions are mentioned by Swiss respondents: getting together with friends and vacationing abroad. Smartphones and YouTube (in all four countries) are frequently mentioned, as well as WhatsApp (in three of the four).

Television may suffer a similar fate as print media.

If we were to choose a symbol to represent today's youth, it would have to be the smartphone. This "mobile command center" ranks number one for increase in popularity in Singapore and Switzerland, number two in the US and number four in Brazil. A good example is its increased popularity in Switzerland: In 2010, slightly less than half of respondents (47 percent) said that smartphones were "in"; today that share is 95 percent.

Most important source of information

Early on, the Youth Barometer predicted a drop in the number of readers who pay for print media, and it is now apparent that television may suffer a similar fate. For the first time, television is no longer among the top three in terms of popularity, even in the United States, the land of TV. And in Switzerland, its popularity has declined from 80 to 62 percent in only five years. The video-sharing platform YouTube has experienced a surge in popularity over this same period. Interestingly, radio has maintained its popularity, at least in Switzerland. It's no wonder that Apple has integrated a traditional radio station into its recently launched digital music service.

Digital tools, too, can quickly lose their appeal for the young – this generation demonstrates little loyalty to products and services. Email now ranks among the top three in only one of the surveyed countries (last year in three). In Switzerland, electronic mail has declined in popularity from 88 to 71 percent. In all four countries, internet platforms like Orkut (now defunct) and Myspace are now considered downright "out". Also unpopular are drugs and smoking, as well as political parties and religion.

Facebook is now a more important medium for accessing news than for communication.

As for Facebook: Some extol this social-media platform as the defining medium for this generation – while others predict its demise. Which view is correct? Neither. As noted above, more than 50 percent of respondents believe that Facebook is changing the world. However, it is rarely regarded as "in", and its popularity has declined significantly, even in Switzerland. Facebook now has another, less "cool" function: 27 percent of respondents in Singapore, 22 percent in the US, 17 percent in Brazil and 5 percent in Switzerland say that it is their most important source of information. For this generation, Facebook is now a more important medium for accessing news than apps, radio, TV or newspapers. For communication, Facebook's original function, respondents have come to prefer WhatsApp, a more private option for sending short messages (see Digital Universe).