Hello, I’m a Mac. And I’m a PC.
To this day, Macs haven’t shaken off its image for ‘creative types’, nor PCs – in this case, largely Microsoft Windows users – for ‘business types’.
But not all Windows users are suit-and-ties. They’re young Gen Zs too.
For our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report, 57% of Gen Zs told us their favourite laptop or desktop operating system is Windows compared to 39% who chose Apple’s macOS. 1% said Linux.
This is particularly interesting because over three-quarters of Gen Zs (77%) said Apple iOS is their favourite phone operating system, followed by Google Android (21%) and Windows Mobile (1%). As iPhones dominate Gen Z lives, why didn’t more people favour macOS for better mobile integration and to practice loyalty towards the brand powerhouse?
The skew between operating systems for laptops and desktops isn’t as dramatic as phones, but still, the fact is Windows is more popular with Gen Zs here even when Apple has such a strong pull on their handheld devices.
Here are four possible reasons.
1. Better features
Actually, Windows users and iPhone devotees are quite common like here and here. As one of them, Matt Weinberger writing for Business Insider, said that Apple has been focusing on making the best phone operating system while Microsoft “missed the boat” on phones, left to only focus on making Windows more flexible and useful.
But for young people, it can’t solely be that macOS doesn’t have decent features. In fact, TechRadar named the Apple MacBook Air as Australia’s #1 student laptop in 2021. It’s just that out of the 10 listed, 6 are Windows, 2 are Chromebook, and 2 are macOS. So this also points to a numbers game, where there are a larger number of great and affordable Windows options like the Microsoft Surface. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Functional and cheaper
It’s worth noting that 82% of respondents are aged 15 to 18 with many not in full-time work yet. Hence, entry-level prices are a big factor. Apple products are seenas ‘more premium’ (keyword = seen), but Windows laptops and desktops are known for top specs for cheaper prices.
71% of Gen Zs also prefer using their phone over their laptop, desktop or tablet, spending on average 5 hours of mobile screen time per day. It could be that their relationship to laptops and desktops is that of a more ‘functional’ one, less of something to fit in with their peers to the same effect of an iPhone and its iMessage app.
How much will the Windows vs macOS divide change as these Gen Zs grow older, move into their careers, and have more money to spend?
3. Used at school
Windows owns almost 73% of the global market share for desktop operating systems, and is more widely available. Whether it’s at school, the library or the workplace, many young people have become accustomed to Windows. This is no accident. Microsoft has long pushed its custom business applications and strong computing power for large organisations for different budgets. And the longer it’s used, the harder it is to get everyone to switch.
4. And finally, solid gaming.
Yes, Solitaire and Minesweeper are legendary. But Windows does more. Its speed, graphics and huge variety of games are known for hardcore gamers, which could speak to the 75% of males and 43% of females who told us they game weekly.