logo

Consumers Use AI Tools Mostly for Fun, Not Work

AI application users also say their experience with the tools have been largely positive, writes deputy head of industry analysis Amy He
A woman speaking into her smartphone
Getty Images and Unsplash / Morning Consult artwork by Natalie White
By Amy He
January 11, 2024 at 5:00 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • Of those using AI tools daily, one in five are millennials (19%), the most of any generation.

  • This is likely translating to positive sentiment among users: 81% of monthly users describe them as helpful and 78% as easy to use.

  • AI developers still have work to do to bolster the technology’s reputation, especially among Gen Z. While the youngest generation of adults also view AI tools as more positive than negative, they are also less likely to describe them as reliable or truthful.

With generative artificial intelligence sure to dominate CES 2024, new Morning Consult research finds that user exposure towards AI applications has been mostly positive. Though general interest in generative AI has stalled since the beginning of last year, millennials who have used AI applications are the most likely to describe them as helpful and easy to use, followed closely by Gen Z.  

Millennials are also most likely to report using AI applications in multiple scenarios across their day-to-day lives, such as helping with ideation or for shopping recommendations. This is all a good foundation upon which companies in the space can further message their tools’ benefits.

More people use AI tools for pleasure than business

Among those who have used AI tools at least once a month, entertainment and leisure purposes dominate. But no matter the scenario, millennials are much more likely than the average user to say they have used AI applications. 

Millennials Are the Most Prolific AI Users

Share of AI users who say they use the technology at least monthly to do the following:
Morning Consult Logo
Surveys conducted Oct. 16-19, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,207 U.S. adults, including 830 AI users, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points, and Oct. 16-29, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,002 Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 26, including 576 AI users, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

What’s resonating with millennials and cutting across multiple industries is recommendations. Over 6 in 10 millennials say they use AI at least monthly for shopping and entertainment suggestions. As brands invest even more heavily on AI tools, those numbers will likely tick up, and companies that have AI tools but don’t yet market or productize them should do so.

Use among Gen Z is much more muted by comparison, but they are more likely to turn to AI tools for schoolwork than other cohorts. That said, Gen Z’s AI interactions may be more frequent than what’s reported, given that many platforms which they use (think filters on TikTok or Instagram) seamlessly incorporate the technology into their offerings. 

The vast majority of users find GAI tools fun, easy and helpful

For those who’ve been exposed to AI tools, sentiment leans positive. But notably, Gen Zers are less likely to feel positively about nearly all the characteristics surveyed, and the largest gap is on truthfulness: Gen Zers were 8 percentage points less likely than the average AI user to say the term describes the technology “very well” or “somewhat well.” 

Most Exposure to AI Tools is Positive, but Gen Z Sentiment is More Muted

Share of AI users who say they use the technology at least monthly say the following terms describe it "very well" or "somewhat well"
Morning Consult Logo
Surveys conducted Oct. 16-19, 2023, among a representative sample of 2,207 U.S. adults, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points, and Oct. 16-29, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,002 Gen Zers between the ages of 13 and 26, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-3 percentage points.

This could have to do with the fact that much higher shares of Gen Z generative AI tool users said they’ve experienced issues when using them, such as AI applications misunderstanding prompts or producing incorrect outputs. Almost three-quarters of Gen Zers (71%) said they've experienced issues, compared with 59% of U.S. adults and 64% of millennials who said the same. 

Other Morning Consult research also shows that U.S. consumer trust in generative AI search to be helpful and accurate has declined, with much steeper drops for Gen Z. Last March, 52% of Gen Z adults said they “completely” or “mostly” trust an AI-powered search engine to provide factual results, which dropped to 30% in December. Developers will need to invest heavily into growing the reliability of their tools' output if they want AI applications to be permanently part of people’s digital lives, as opposed to just a passing fad.

Jordan Marlatt contributed to this analysis.

A headshot photograph of Amy He
Amy He
Deputy Head of Industry Analysis

Amy He is deputy head of Industry Analysis. Her team identifies trends across retail, media, technology, sports and brand reputation. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Amy served as the executive editor of newsletters at Insider Intelligence (formerly known as eMarketer), and was a China reporter for many years. She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and East Asian studies. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

We want to hear from you. Reach out to this author or your Morning Consult team with any questions or comments.Contact Us