Nearly half of Gen Z consumers have online accounts they no longer use

Veritas Technologies, the secure multi-cloud data management firm, released new research that found nearly half (47%) of Gen Z consumers in Australia have online accounts they no longer use. By comparison, just 18% of consumers over 65 have unused online accounts.

What were the findings of the survey?

The study, dubbed “In the Cloud, Out of Mind,” also revealed a perception gap among Gen Z that may correlate to having a higher number of unused online accounts: more than six out of ten Aussies (63%) fail to recognise the environmental impact of the electronic versions of their account-related statements and other documents stored online. Yet, 42% also said it’s wrong for businesses to waste energy and cause pollution by storing unneeded data online.

Veritas Technologies’ survey, which polled 13,000 consumers around the world, also uncovered the following related trends among Generation Z adults in Australia:

  • Majority (78%) have entertainment and shopping accounts they no longer use.
  • Over half (52%) have an internet service provider account they no longer use.
  • Half (50%) have an online bank account they no longer use.
  • Nearly half (47%) have utility accounts they no longer use.
  • Four out of 10 (40%) have an insurance account they no longer use.

The study shows that over half (54%) of Gen Z consumers have never tried to close these unused accounts. The most common reason being that it doesn’t matter to them personally (39%). Another quarter of Gen Z (23%) said it’s because they simply don’t have the time.

What does this mean for the environment?

Pete Murray, Managing Director of ANZ at Veritas
Pete Murray, Managing Director, ANZ at Veritas

Pete Murray, Managing Director of ANZ at Veritas, said: “Aussies today have online accounts for almost everything – and with each of these accounts comes more and more cloud-based data. But millions of those accounts likely go unused, particularly among the Generation Z demographic, meaning personal data of Aussie consumers is being stored without any use.”

“This is concerning as the largely useless data sits idle in data centres, which are mostly fossil fuel-powered and operate 24 hours a day. In fact, data centres account for 2% of all global carbon emissions—that’s about the same as the entire airline industry. The unnecessary data hoarded in these unused accounts also poses a major cybersecurity risk for consumers.”

Murray added: “Eliminating data waste helps reduce emissions and protect our planet, but it seems many consumers are unaware of this. Gen Z is arguably the most environmentally conscious generation that has ever existed, but knowingly or not, they’re leading the way among consumers in creating the most carbon emissions from unnecessary data.”

“All Australian consumers, but especially those in younger generations, need to be empowered to make sound decisions about their online lives and digital footprints—or this issue risks snowballing into a two-fold security and sustainability nightmare,” he said.