IDC's Consumer Pulse, a survey of consumers in seven countries, revealed dramatic shifts occurring in how different generational cohorts earn income, spend their money, and leverage technology to do both. Stark differences between Gen Z/Younger Millennials and older consumers promise to transform the tech landscape over the next decade.

A staggering 48% of all households surveyed reported engaging in at least one source of tech-enabled income generation in 2022, led by content creation, peer-to-peer commerce, and rideshare driving. This trend is driven by Gen Z- and Millennial-led households, where 60% of Consumer Pulse respondents said they derived such income in the last year.

"It may be surprising that nearly half of households report online income-generating activities," said David Myhrer, research vice president, consumer strategies at IDC. "It's important to remember that this includes selling things on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, picking up the occasional shift on Lyft or Uber, and posting content on sites such as YouTube. There is now a diverse set of opportunities for consumers to generate new sources of income, and they're embracing them."

All told, combined worldwide spending on independently created content, items purchased via peer-to-peer commerce, and ridesharing services will grow to a total of $294 billion by 2026, according to IDC's Consumer Market Model (CMM), which forecasts strong and continued growth of spending on consumer-derived content, goods, and services. For example, the CMM forecasts that by 2026 consumers will add $15 billion worldwide in new spending in support of their fellow consumers' independent content creation. Peer-to-peer marketplaces will also see strong growth, accelerating from $33 billion to $117 billion from 2021 to 2026. Finally, rideshare driving will drive $85 billion in new spending worldwide between now and 2026.

"Gen Z and younger Millennials will dominate future spending in a wide range of CMM categories," said Kelly Brown, senior research analyst for IDC's Consumer Market Model. "These groups are not following the same playbook as their predecessors, and they are actively seeking new alternatives to both earning and spending income."

How consumers spend that extra income is rapidly changing, too. The Consumer Pulse shows that online transactions (50%) overtook in-person purchases (43%) in 2022, inverting the pre-COVID mix. There are some interesting shifts occurring inside that stat, too. "When it comes to online grocery shopping, we see a growth in the share of home delivery from 25% to 35%," Myhrer says. "What's most interesting is that the growth is driven by Gen Z, Younger Millennials, and in this instance…surprise… Boomers."

Related to the shift toward online shopping, the CMM projects that 64% of online transactions will be conducted on mobile devices by 2026. An "online first" mentality is present among three fourths of Millennials and has already spread to two thirds of Gen X, Myhrer says. "This is just one example of how the habits of these younger consumers are driving seismic change."

IDC's Future Consumer team will be presenting its latest findings across a wide range of consumer-centric topics at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. To find out more about the services or for information about the in-person briefing in January, please go to or contact Brad Kennedy at

Learn more.