HO CHI MINH CITY: Only around one third of Vietnam's Generation Z think the most comfortable method of contact with their friends is face-to-face, with most preferring some form of digital communication, research has shown

Market research company DecisionLab polled 710 13-21 year olds, most in the two main cities of Ha Noi (44) and Ho Chi Minh City (45%), and found that half (50%) said they felt most comfortable communicating with chat apps or text, while 7% opted for email and 9% phone calls.

This is a generation that has only ever known a world with the internet and is more likely than previous ones to be fully engaged with it. As the report noted: "Gen Z really just enjoy being online, hanging out and cocooning at home."

Digital activities featured prominently in a typical week, with reading the news on Facebook the most popular, being cited by 79% of respondents. Listening to music was a close second, whether streamed (74%) or on MP3/CD (73%).

Chatting on instant messaging apps (71%), watching YouTube videos (68%), checking social media (64%) and playing computer games (62%) were also widespread.

Getting out into the real, physical world in the form of hanging out at a café was a relatively minority interest, undertaken by 42% of the survey.

"The line between digital and physical is very blurred to them and most feel their existence is validated by their social media presence," explained Bui Tieu Vy, senior marketing executive at Epinion.

In fact, 51% said they felt noticed when people commented on or liked their posts, while 45% agreed that the number of these was an indication of their popularity.

At the same time, however, only 17% trusted comments or feedback on Facebook, and only 9% trusted friends they met online. This scepticism meant that they were unlikely to fall for online scams, the report suggested.

And, added Bui Tieu Vy, "For brands this means Gen Z is able to read between the lines of marketing ploys and will require much more convincing to connect with a brand than to simply be told it is good".

Data sourced from Digital Market Asia; additional content by Warc staff